Today's discussion:

Is there hope for Canada’s universities?

With time and effort, universities can rediscover their mission and embrace it once again. This effort will only succeed if all members of the university—students, faculty, and administration—consciously choose to support academic freedom and the goal of truth-seeking and govern themselves accordingly.

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Deborah Ketchabaw

I have my doubts The professors are way too woke.

4th March 2024 at 7:40 am
Paul Attics

Based on your definition of woke (feel free to provide), what is, presumably, the “right level of woke”? What percentage of professors have you determined are “too woke”?

Rather than wrestle with tainted definitions and/or create rules against a vague idea or ideology, asserting, no, enshrining, a truth-seeking principle such as the Chicago Statement is more effective. The unsubstantiated nonsense should just fall away from the mainstream discourse.

4th March 2024 at 10:13 am
Ian MacRae

I’ve just completed a BA in History at York (my 3rd degree; I’m retired). While the professors have been pleasant and not strident, many student comments have negatively assessed historical events in light of their current social values. The cancelling of Sir John A McDonald and Egerton Ryerson appear to me to be driven by their application of their extremely-held views on racism. They do not recognize, or refuse to accept, that values have changed over time and to judge historical figures by modern standards is very arrogant.

What continues to surprise me in schools, but also in governments, professional regulators and some businesses, is the oblation to these immature worldviews. I expect more mature and reasoned thought to be in evidence and am puzzled by the motivation to support and proclaim these woke beliefs.

In my teens and 20s, we had Vietnam War protests to dramatically set ourselves morally above our parents. Early Millennials don’t seem to have needed to protest against their parents but the current crop, born in the 21st century, do seem to need to distinguish themselves. I also feel the advent of social media has enabled them to feel part of large groups of believers. The ability to be instantly outraged also appears to be a feature.

A recent humorous example is the opening scene in the movie “American Fiction”. A black professor uses the N-word in a lecture. A white female student raises her snowlflake objection, for which the professor is removed from teaching. I suspect most Boomers and early Millennials will enjoy the scene.

The author does indicate his self-censorship. If his or all schools are not doomed, he should be railing against such limitation to his speech.

4th March 2024 at 9:28 am
Paul Attics

I would wistfully broaden the Chicago statement to our wider society…Each citizen should be committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, guaranteeing all members of society the broadest possible latitude in good faith to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.
We should strive to make truth-seeking a marque signature of our society.

4th March 2024 at 10:04 am

Well written commentary. Thanks

4th March 2024 at 5:23 pm

In which faculties?

4th March 2024 at 2:39 pm
Azad Kaushik

The Canadian university system is like an inverted pyramid with top heavy administration where power politics matters and the space for intellectual engagement limited. The faculty is put in a place-holder kind of situation by administration with little to no freedom because of micro-management and control. Oligarchy prevails with a corporate structure, mediocrity thrives and institutions are run like Walmart. Unless, we create faculty-centred university system where scholarship thrives, there is little hope…

4th March 2024 at 12:21 pm
Don Palmer

As a graduate of Concordia back in the 1970s I am appalled by their current approach to non-critical teaching.

4th March 2024 at 10:41 am