Two shocking scandals. Two esteemed universities. Two disgraced university leaders. One stunning connection. Over the last month, we’ve seen Penn State University President Graham Spanier dismissed from his duties and we’ve seen UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi pushed to the brink of resignation. Spanier was jettisoned because of what appears to be a systematic cover-up of assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s serial child rape. Katehi has faced calls to resign after the she sent campus police to blast pepper spray in the faces of her peaceably assembled students, an act for which she claims “full responsibility.” The university’s Faculty Association has since voted for her ouster citing a “gross failure of leadership.” The names Spanier and Katehi are now synonymous with the worst abuses of institutional power. But their connection didn’t begin there. In 2010, Spanier chose Katehi to join an elite team of twenty college presidents on what’s called the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, which “promotes discussion and outreach between research universities and the FBI.”
Free Interactive Conference Open to All
To Know is Not Enough:
Activist Scholarship, Social Change & The Corporate University
Friday April 13, 2012
University of British Columbia,
Robson Square Campus
The theme for the 2012 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association is “Non Satis Scire: To Know Is Not Enough.” It is laudable that AERA is promoting “the use of research to improve education and serve the public good” rather than the mere accumulation of research knowledge, but The Rouge Forum is interested in exploring what it means for scholars, and educators in general, to move beyond “knowing” to the pursuit of activist agendas for social change.
- What happens when teachers and other academics connect reason to power and power to resistance?
- How can academic work (in universities and other learning environments) support local and global resistance to global neoliberal capitalism?
- How do we respond to the obstacles and threats faced as activist scholars?
The Rouge Forum @ AERA will bring together world-renowned scholars, teachers, community organizers, and other activists to discuss these questions and others related to activist scholarship, social change, academic freedom, and work in the corporate university as part of a one-day interactive conference at the Robson Square Campus of University of British Columbia in downtown Vancouver.
What is the Rouge Forum?
The Rouge Forum is a group of educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are both research and action oriented. We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring into practice our present understanding of what that is. We seek to build a caring inclusive community that understands that an injury to one is an injury to all. At the same time, our caring community is going to need to deal decisively with an opposition that is sometimes ruthless. RougeForum.com
Inside Higher Ed: The Would-Be Provost Who Quoted Marx
“In the university, the higher up the hierarchical structure, the more one has decision-making power and the further one is from the actual ‘work’ (discovering and disseminating knowledge).”
Timothy J. L. Chandler, the co-author of a 1998 journal article with that quote about university hierarchies, is going to stay a step closer to actual work. On Thursday, he announced that he is turning down the position of provost at Kennesaw State University — in part because of furor set off in the local area over the article, which applies class analysis and several times cites Marx.
Globe and Mail: David Noble, academic and activist, dies at 65
David Noble, one of North America’s most prominent critics of the corporatization of academia and a groundbreaking researcher on the influence of technology on society, died Monday evening at age 65. He passed away in hospital unexpectedly of natural causes with his family at his side, friends said.
Prof. Noble rose to prominence for his critiques of technological automation, which he argued had been a method of depriving workers of power. He worked at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology and later at York University in Toronto, where he quickly became known for his political activism.
In 2001, he was denied an appointment to the J.S. Woodsworth research chair at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, despite the backing of faculty, which he blamed on his activism against corporatization. Seven years later, he settled out of court with the university, which acknowledged that it had made mistakes.
A Jew and an opponent of Zionism, Prof. Noble garnered an angry reaction from York in 2004 when he published a pamphlet accusing a school fundraising body of being “biased by the presence and influence of staunch pro-Israeli lobbyists, activities and fundraising agencies,” and proceeded to name members of the group who had ties to Jewish organizations. After York condemned his actions, he sued the school for defamation, a case that was due to go to trial next year.
Two years later, he launched a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission against York’s practice of cancelling classes on some Jewish holidays, maintaining that it constituted discrimination against non-Jewish students. The university changed its policies before the case was heard.
“He was very vehement, vibrant, intense,” said Denis Rancourt, a former University of Ottawa professor and a close friend of Prof. Noble’s. “He was very energetic and exciting to be around in terms of all the ideas.”
Mr. Rancourt credited Prof. Noble with motivating his students’ activism and described his intense passion.
“One time he called me after an opera performance to express that the singer was so powerful that he was convinced we would all live forever,” he said.
He had planned to retire from classroom teaching this summer, he said.
“He was very courageous in his ability to unwaveringly speak truth to power,” said Yavar Hameed, his lawyer. “He was unafraid to speak up against the corporatization of education.”
The Canadian Arab Federation issued a statement on his death: “Canada lost a truly noble person, both in name and in the essence of his character.”
Prof. Noble is survived by his wife, three children and two brothers.
Issue 14 of the Rouge Forum News focuses on papers given at the the 2009 RF Conference: Education, Empire, Economy & Ethics at a Crossroads: What do we need to know and how can we come to know it?, which was held in May at Eastern Michigan University.
This issue contains nine articles from conference presenters, including the keynote address of legendary activist, historian, lawyer Staughton Lynd and NCSS Defense of Academic Freedom Award recipient Gregg Queen. Other contributors include Cory Maley, Travis Barrett, Rich Gibson, Paul Ramsey, E. Wayne Ross, Carol Williams, and Adam Renner, plus poetry by Gina Stiens, Sonya Burton, and Billy X. Curmano.
Download Rouge Forum News Issue 14 (August 2009) [pdf]
Previous issues of Rouge Forum News can be found here.