• Stop debating age and actually teach us about consent

    We need to learn that consent can be affected by power dynamics, the influence of substances and perceived safety. In order for us to feel safe and empowered in our decisions, conversations must be constant and reflective of our experience. Education has to start young, acknowledging that consent is not only mandatory for sex but also for any kind of healthy relationship… So, we have to keep talking about it, a thousand times over, until things start to change.

  • What’s so scary about free speech on campus?

    The concept of words as weapons that can inflict damage on people’s equality rights is a staple of feminist legal thought. It is also widespread on campuses today… For all their talk about diversity and inclusion, universities have become monocultures of thought, where unpopular ideas are often regarded as downright toxic… “Universities are no longer places where ideas may freely circulate… if you even bring up the ‘wrong’ ideas, you are labelled as some sort of public enemy.”

  • Why has academic freedom become a sticking point in the college strike?

    Administrators have the final say on grading and whether a student will pass or fail. Not only does this impact the quality of education being offered, it could impact students’ ability to perform in the profession for which they are being trained, and, the reputation of the program and the college… If administrators and instructors collaborate about what goes into a course, what resources are used, how a course is taught and how a student demonstrates learning, education improves.

  • Don’t let Ontario’s college system suffocate itself

    … the union rightly stressed the plight of precarious workers — contract teachers who form the vast majority of staff at Ontario’s 24 colleges. OPSEU reminded us that piecework professors are the dirty little secret of the province’s sprawling educational-industrial complex… Shortchanged by provincial funding, today’s colleges make up the difference by exploiting instructors while expanding into the terrain of universities.

  • Equal outcomes have replaced equality of opportunity

    No one would argue that discrimination has magically ceased to exist, or that we have reached a perfectly fair and just society. We never will. But the argument that equal outcomes are the one true measure of equality is corrosive. It means we’re doomed to see people through the prism of race and gender instead of talent and achievement. It means that people who refuse to reverse discriminate will be perceived as racist… Maybe you think it’s fine to rectify past injustices with fresh ones. Maybe you think diversity matters more than excellence. In that case, you’re going to make a very fine university administrator.

  • Ontario College Educators Are on Strike for Their Students

    Colleges are what they are today because senior college administrators want them that way. They want more precarious labour, less academic freedom, more online courses, fewer full-time faculty members, and a more obedient and docile staff and student body. Such ambitions may be good for businesses, though I rather doubt it. But I know with certainty that they are antithetical to institutions of higher learning and will quickly erode a school’s quality and standards…

  • College students and striking faculty face same challenges with precarious work

    In this strike, we are not neutral. We support our faculty… We know the reality of precarious work… Delivering quality education is difficult when you’re working from one four-month contract to the next, have few or no benefits, and aren’t given adequate time to prepare for the courses you’re teaching. Yet these are the working conditions of contract instructors at our colleges, who now make up more than 70 per cent of all faculty.

  • Government should expand student placements into social sector

    If the government expanded the new $73 million Student Work-Integrated Learning program to all students it could help tackle Canada’s most intractable social problems — such as homelessness, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, affordable housing, social cohesion and intercultural understanding… most CSL [community service-learning] students and community partners are excluded from government support under the program.

  • Universities should make people think, not spare them from discomfort

    If you can’t speak freely, you’ll quickly lose the ability to think clearly. Your ideas will be built on a pile of assumptions you’ve never examined for yourself and may thus be unable to defend from radical challenges. You will be unable to test an original thought for fear that it might be labeled an offensive one… the real crux of [the] case for free speech: Not that it’s necessary for democracy (strictly speaking, it isn’t), but because it’s our salvation from intellectual mediocrity and social ossification.

  • Either invest or face more turmoil at Ontario’s colleges and universities

    Canada has actually cut its public funding since 2008, and now we rank in the bottom half of advanced economies, spending well below what Denmark, Norway, and Sweden invest in their public post-secondary teaching, research, and innovation. The picture is the same in Ontario, where the provincial government has reduced public funding for universities and colleges and now ranks last in public per-student funding in Canada.