It was bound to happen, and now it has. Right across the country there has long since been, and rightly so, lower admission standards for indigenous students. But Mount Royal University is currently in the process of drawing up a separate set of hiring-tenure-and-promotions protocols for indigenous faculty.
What will be their autonomous effects when, not if, these protocols are adopted? I can’t pronounce, but I can guess. In very short order non-indigenous students – and perhaps many indigenous students too – will avoid these instructors, and we’ll end up with the very apartheid in education we were hoping to avoid.
Is this accommodation run amok? It may not be. If a case can be made that there’s wisdom that’s been unavailable because of too narrow an understanding of what counts as wisdom, and how it’s disseminated, then no. But how is that case to be evaluated? And by whom?
Well, how was the case for European wisdom made? Certainly by memic Darwinian selection, both positive and negative. But also by political processes. Think of the role the Church once played – and in some places still does – in “what doctrines are fit to be taught”.
So that something similar is taking place in academia today should come as no surprise. In fact I suspect that every university in Canada will be following Mount Royal’s suit within the next year or two. Unfortunately the other mechanism, the Darwinian one, may take a few decades to show.
I’m not familiar with the situation in Western Europe, but I suspect that, in North America at least, academia is past its best-before date. Sad, but then so was the retirement of the Edsel.
Categories: Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask, Social and Political Philosophy
A propos of your suspicion that academia in North America is past its best-before date, I commend the following blog post on Climate Etc.:
The post addresses the crisis of reproducibility that Nature has highlighted. It cites a March 2021 study by Eric Kaufman, Academic Freedom in Crisis, https://cspicenter.org/reports/academicfreedom/, which sought to “investigate authoritarianism and political discrimination in academia, relying on survey responses from both the perpetrators and targets of discrimination.”
Among Kaufman’s main findings,
“Across three Anglophone countries [U.S., U.K., and li’l ole us!], a significant portion of academics [would] discriminate against conservatives in hiring, promotion, grants and publications. . . .Gender-critical feminist scholars appear to experience even more discrimination than conservatives. Only 28% of American and Canadian academics would feel comfortable having lunch with someone who opposes the idea of transwomen [‘men’ to that someone] accessing women’s shelters.”
His surveys were conducted among social-science and humanities faculty and PhD students. Academics in STEM fields were not surveyed, perhaps because few of them would know what a transwoman was….
The finding of Kaufman perhaps most germane to your post is that 16% of academic faculty in Canada (and 18% in U.S. and U.K.) would support a hypothetical campaign to dismiss a colleague who published evidence that women or minorities had poorer performance than a comparator group on some hypothetical metric. The figure for American and Canadian PhD students was 43%. This category of politically incorrect research findings drew the highest stated support for “hard” authoritarianism, with less enthusiasm for findings in other categories like “diversity as negative”, “traditional parenthood better”, “restrict immigration”, and “empire as positive”. But about a quarter of respondents (and half the PhDs) would support dismissal campaigns over more than one of these “triggers”. (Remember, as the author cautions, this is a snap-shot, not a longitudinal study of how world views might change with life experience. But the students are a censorious lot.)
The study also found broad support throughout the social-science and humanities communities for “soft” forms of authoritarianism like shunning, obstruction of promotion, denial of funding, etc. Kaufman posits that there is not indeed a “silent majority” of faculty who still treasure academic freedom who will go to the barricades if called. Rather there is broad silent acquiescence to totalitarianism, as is clear from Rational Space Network presentations. And who dares to resist the indigenization of the medical school curriculum and the faculty who will teach it?