Sep 022015

Universities need a new model of governance,

Globe&Mail, by Julie Cafley

Text and URL to access the on-line Comments is appended.


Cafley does not mention the large problem of corporate infiltration of educational institutions.  Fortunately, many of the Comments do.

Will the professor steadfastly serve the public interest in unbiased research and teaching when a corporate entity is the funder?  “Knowledge” for corporate purposes is known as advertising.  In the common vernacular it is “propaganda”.   Example:  Monsanto provided millions of dollars for the Agriculture College at the U of S and has continued to fund research.  Will students learn anything other than GMO agriculture?  The Govt (both under the NDP and the Sask Party (Conservative)) supports the industry financially.  Now there is, in addition to the Ag College, The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the U.  It is a marketing vehicle for the industry.  The lobbying machine for the chemical-biotech corporations is CropLife Canada.  Lorne Hepworth was a Cabinet Minister in the Conservative Govt of Grant Devine.   When the Conservatives were ousted he became the Head of CropLife, for decades.  He now sits on the Board of GIFS at the University.   There are many lawyers at the U of S.   Yet none of them will disallow a clear conflict-of-interest in the little fiefdom.

The list of transgressions is long.   Dalhousie University taking money from Lockheed Martin Corporation under terms that give the corporation large influence in the teaching and research.

An insidious corporatization of the universities is through The Minerva Initiative.  It’s American.  In Canada we have the “U15” which appears to be taking Canadian universities along a similar path.

“The Minerva Initiative is a Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008 focusing on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy.

“The goal of the Minerva Initiative is to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.  The research program will:

•   Leverage and focus the resources of the Nation’s top universities. …  “

The takeover of our knowledge base is not limited to the “hard” sciences.  It is a cancer that extends into many aspects of education.

I am particularly concerned about that which is absolutely essential for a functioning democracy,  learning that citizens have trusted our educational institutions to deliver.  Corporatized “education” turns out “yes people”, “consumers” without the skills and understanding to participate meaningfully in their (withering) democracy.


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Universities need a new model of governance

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