Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let's Implement Academic Freedom in all Universities Instead of Singling Out TWU

In the National Post today, Barbara Kay does not hold back on the inappropriateness of Women's Studies programs in today's universities. What I found interesting was the calling out of liberal academics for their hypocrisy in tolerating WS programs but finding a university with a Christian faith statement an affront to "academic freedom."
"In an irate letter to the editor February 2, Penni Stewart, president of the Canadian Association of University Students, and Katherine Giroux-Bougard, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students denounce the Post's Jan. 26 editorial expressing satisfaction with the demise of Womens's Studies programs. They are "shocked" at such an attitude, and set out to explain why Women's Studies are needed more than ever. But the letter actually vindicates the editorial, because almost every sentence in it confirms that Women's Studies are nothing more than political activism with a blackboard, not objective scholarship.

They begin with the curious statement that Women's Studies "are informed by the belief that men and women are equal," a straw statement of remarkable disingenuousness. Nobody at the Post or anywhere else considers this "a radical belief," and I, who have often publicly agreed with the Post's editorial stance, take exception to the implication that it is only Women's Studies that holds that value. All university programs, indeed our entire society believes in gender equality. Actually, our public, tax-funded institutions, our courts, our social service agencies and our charities believe in more than equality, they believe in special entitlements for women.

And if there is any nook or cranny in this nation where equality of opportunity is not available to women, I would welcome the enlightenment and be the first to insist that be rectified. On the other hand I can certainly show Ms Stewart and Ms Giroux-Bougard many instances of inequality of opportunity for men, such as university appointments, where equity codes privilege the hiring of women. It is not equality of opportunity that Women's Studies is championing, though, it is equality of outcomes. In other words, Women's Studies is merely the politically activist arm of the feminist movement, which is nothing more today than a lobby group for women's interests, not at all a movement interested in true equality between the genders.

Political activism and recruitment to activism should not be the responsibility of universities to promote. It's rather ironic that the Canadian Association of University Teachers' executive director, James Turk, has lately complained that Trinity Western University falls below the standard of proper academic freedom because faculty applicants are required to sign statements of Christian faith. He says: "A university is meant as a place to explore ideas, not to create disciples of Christ."

How is the faith-based Women's Studies any different? Applicants may not have to sign actual declarations, but anyone applying to teach at a Women's Studies program had better believe in the ideology of feminism, or they can take a hike. The hiring committees grill applicants with a view to exposing their ideological loyalties. Anyone deviating from the politically correct adamantine Marxism-imbued party line will not be welcome. Indeed, I am confident that a student studying Christianity at Trinity Western University would be given far greater latitude to challenge the tenets of Christian faith with impunity than a student defying the misandric rubrics of Women's Studies."

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