Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can This Be For Real?

The National Post is reporting today that a group of professors at the University of Regina is trying to take scholarships away from children of soldiers who have died in Afghanistan as their way of being anti-war. Seriously. It must be a hoax. Can there really be people with academic qualifications who are so obtuse?

Anyway, here is the story under the headline "Professors Slam Scholarships for Children of Dead Soldiers."
"A group of professors at the University of Regina is protesting a scholarship program for the dependents of dead soldiers, arguing it promotes militarism.

"We think this program is a glorification of Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan," said Jeffrey Webber, one of 16 professors who drafted an open letter to university president Vianne Timmons.

The program, called Project Hero, provides financial aid for children of Canadian Forces personnel who have lost their lives while serving in an active mission. Individual universities establish the terms and conditions for the scholarship including value, duration and application process.

The open letter, endorsed by Mr. Webber and his colleagues, asked for three things: the immediate withdrawal from "Project Hero," public pressure on government to provide funding for universal access to post-secondary education and a public forum on the war in Afghanistan and Canadian imperialism to be held before the end of semester exams.

Barb Pollock, a spokeswoman for the University of Regina, defended Project Hero.

"The decision was made by the executive of the university," she said. "Other universities whom we respect are involved in it and we thought it was a good thing to do."

She did not expect the reaction from the group of protesting professors.

"We have diverse opinions on moves the university makes all the time and the decision has been made at this point.... That's where it's at." But she said university will "not have a debate" on the issue and has made its decision to go through with the program.

The professors' objections begin, but don't end, with the name of the program.

"Project Hero" has dangerous cultural underpinnings, implying that Canada's military activity in Afghanistan is heroic, said Mr. Webber.

"We disagree with that. We think it's a military occupation of a sovereign country," he said. "It's not the position of the university administration to take a position in favour of this war."

"We think it's aligning a public university -- without any consultation with its students or staff, or the broader community -- with support for this war."

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