Apathy to Activism : Toronto Student Stands Up


Student activists pave way for coalitions between campus and movements

Why don’t students really care about anything outside of life? Ask Mikhael Aziz. As a graduate student, Aziz is also a member of the anti-student group Israel Apartheid, a group at the forefront of campus mobilization.

Regarding the deep apathy of many students, my remarks and what I heard while writing this article is that it is a feeling of self-correction. Most students have never experienced political change or financial hardship. Canada’s relatively stable wave of economic growth and the associated consumer culture create a dangerous combination of political expediency and consumer dissatisfaction. The competitive individualism that emerged with the dismantling of the welfare state has created a feeling of hostility which is expressed as a right to itself and has a strong demobilizing effect on the country’s campus.

Dennis Rancourt, critical teacher and professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, comments on the nature of indoctrination, which paralyzes creative engagement and politicization of students and includes a force-inspired post-secondary education system. He says that if a student’s only goal is to get a “piece of paper” with which to find a job, he or she has already joined the program. It is easy to avoid politicization on board because, as Rancourt points out, “you are in the middle of the machine you are teaching. It is a very, very difficult and stimulating sterile environment. You are in the center of the animal . “

However, as I will describe, student practices are beginning to change despite the toxic conditions.

Inflation and low education.

The predictable consequence of a culture of self-sufficiency is the question of the actual or perceived level of inflation. At the end of each semester, university administrators fear attacks from dissatisfied students because the growing tax burden leads to violent explosions and students demand “getting what they pay for”. The great reality of higher education is its ugliness, as instructors and teachers are expected to target the magical C + medium in their classrooms. Main objective: protection. Secondary advantage: avoidance of conflicts. As a result, there is a lot of talk about quality education, but more and more students know better.

When Aziz asked one of his professors of political science why so many graduate studies had been canceled, the professor explained that the university was “going through an economic crisis.” The ongoing “budget crisis” is the most popular armpit band that university administrators, of course, selectively rely on. There is a large amount of (public) funding available for security guards, stylish advertising campaigns and the salaries of university leaders, but it is a “budget crisis” that prevents universities from using something that can promote quality education. . At least the amazing promise of a minimal brand is to narrow the gap between bad college consumption habits and the complete alienation of students.

The poet and Himani Bannerji, professor of sociology at York University, reflect the university’s mandate to create critical thinkers and its actions that promote the opposite. He asked impatiently, “How can I blame the students for their inability to prepare them?” The obstacles to teaching in the third year of the summer course on racism and culture make this link between rhetoric and the situation of the university clear. At a time when graduate students are hungry for a suitable job as a teaching assistant, Bannerji refuses to offer this university support, leaving him to manage 60 students alone.

Students are in the midst of this ridiculous misuse of resources. They would certainly receive a better education which could allow them to discussion matters in smaller manageable groups rather than in a classroom of 60 people. However, Bannerji points out, “They are asked to pay more, they receive less support and services, and we are happy with these huge classrooms.” In addition, the expectations of the university and students to obtain accepted grades reflect the integrity of every ounce of the entire education system. Stamps and bureaucracy abound, and higher education quickly becomes a fraud.

Aziz’s study took him into looking at the Toronto society, one aspect the gambling element of Canada’s Provence. Does Toronto’s mental attitude to gambling numb the thought processes of empathy? Gambling is very much an act of self-gratification. Toronto has three main casinos and three smaller establishments that allow gambling services. The three big Toronto casinos are D&D Casino, Casino Woodbine and Casino Ajax.

Does playing poker, slot machines and games like blackjack have an impact on the thought of helping others. With gambling in Toronto so easily available, it begs to have this reviewed.

Regulated safety and precision

In addition to maintaining a dashboard in the fight for quality education, there is also another enemy in the repressive tactics of the university. Increased security measures on campus, including cameras in classrooms (and even less in the hallway) make open and critical study of the atmosphere toxic. Like Wal-Martin bastards who are too smart and stubborn on campus, it is also common for security guards in body armor to cross paths in the classroom.

There are codes of conduct for specific parts of the university arsenal that effectively anchor apathy. Administrators want to extend these codes with more and more restrictions and procedures to keep students and teachers busy with countless rules. Those who attempt to open their mouths to speak truth or opinion are punished with defamation and deportation. The will to express oneself remains satisfied with the rapid development of the legal system available to universities. Wortji remarked without a word that “student activism on campus was definitely dominated by a growing university administration.” “On the rules of arbitrary arrest and detention of the University”, he explains that the atmosphere on campus is “scary”.

Those who participated in the demonstration on March 20, before the meeting of the University Affairs Council on the University of Toronto campus, felt the impact of these measures. This action was taken to protest against the rising cost of living and led to the expulsion of several participants from outside police stations and the campus security meeting. Fourteen seated participants accused of violating the Code of Conduct for University Students are now faced with restrictive rights and guarantees (see Noaman Ali’s article for more information).

As the case of the University of Toronto shows, university leaders have an extensive regulatory process that they want to start in the summer or near exams and usually want to hide when students are dispersed and difficult to organize.

Student participation

Despite the repressive administrative structure of the university, Bannerji is “surprised and happy” that some students ask for more resistance, but suggest that he does so at a higher personal risk. “We no longer believe that students are students. We see them as criminals in education, “he adds, describing how university officials interpret student engagement. Emilie Connolly, McGill graduate student and director of the Praxis program for the new student magazine, provides a picture similar to the impact of tougher measures. Like student activism, they are gradually being marginalized. “Students, although moderately busy, feel ideally threatened from an academic point of view, but it appears that oppressive tactics university administrators could strengthen the determination of some students and encourage them to reconsider their own mobilization strategies.

Like apartheid studying against Israel, no group of illegal students is an exceptional group to combat bullying by promoting links between campus and the movements. During a demonstration on the York University campus in March 2008, professors and students from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University gathered to protest the deportation of York student Sarah (Saint -Sierra) Leonty. Thanks to this linguistic support network, Leonty obtained a two-year stay in Canada. Such measures suggest that political infertility affecting the campus can be avoided by creating new campus coalitions from certain students who work with community members to increase momentum.

Student participation seeds were also planted in the least suitable places. “Students have traditionally called the University of Ottawa” Apathy U, “” said Rancourt. “Now it will be a power plant as an activist center.” The absolutely anarchist approach, its recipe for keeping pace and fighting bullying, focuses on “a variety of tactics,” including the realization that “some people are willing to go further and take more. and protect them. ” protect.’

Emphasis is placed on the creation of coalitions and solidarity between the movements. All kinds of unions, indigenous groups, the fight against poverty and anti-imperialists come together to share resources and information. “This could be the time for this type of policy, because all types of groups are under threat and the economy is in crisis. Further changes are needed, so that we can move to a type of coalition,” said Bannerji.

Connolly provides a similar overview, highlighting what is already at the core of the campus organization. Note that “a lot of political infrastructure has been created in McGill, but there are a lot of disappointments associated with this type of policy. There are many other local organizations on campus [McGill and Concordia] and many group coalitions on campus with groups outside the construction campus, which was quite exciting considering the situation on campus cutting, these coalitions have become the mainstay of resistance, supporting a support system not promised by campus business.

Moving forward

Recent protests at the University of Toronto and York University protest against rising interest rates and the use of labor; An assistant professor attacked McGill and McMaster during a demonstration at the University of British Columbia to protect an important green space on campus - all of these actions represent only part of the organization that takes place on campus today. The key to the success of these activities is knowing how everyone is connected between the campus and its causes, uniting student groups in unions, opposing war, etc. Students in particular, with more diverse hours and more numbers, have an important role to play. a role in supporting other movements through a real physical presence through pickets, demonstrations, and off-campus recovery sites. I

Awakening political commitment on Canada’s campuses marks a wave in which movements are melting and university students are not respected for finding their voices intact and ready to implement change. In many ways, student organizations are at the forefront of the battle that the larger community will face in the near future.