April 23, 2016
I just realized something as I was about to begin to write the introduction to the article in this post.
It was while working for The Uniter in my final year at the University of Winnipeg that I learned how to protest “the establishment”. Over the years, I have fairly often continued to do this. This could be one of the most important things I learned while getting my post-secondary education.
If things are not right in this world or in your corner of the world, you can raise your voice and work to change it. It does not always change but it does change often enough if we protest the status quo.
At the university level, the person who represents the status quo is often the institution’s president. On the student newspaper and the student association we honed our social activist skills on this man.
The following is an example:
February 28, 1979
President’s task force continues blunders
by Tanya Lester
“It’s effectively a slap in the face not only for the UWSA but for all the students of the university,” said Hart Schwartz, former U of W Students’ Association (UWSA) president.
Schwartz was voicing his disapproval of the recently prepared report of the Task Force on Academic Development which has been published in the U of W’s Inside Info pamphlet. The committee was originally set up by Henry Duckworth, U of W president to examine methods to cope with declining full-time student enrollment at the University.
One aspect of the report found annoying by Schwartz is that the Task Force committee recommends the appointment of an evening student to be selected by the Dean of Students for Permanent Advisory Committee on University Planning.
“It’s sort of like the government picking the opposition,” said Schwartz. He feels student appointments on any university committees should be selected by the UWSA, the students’ representative body.
When Schwartz was student president, he complained to Duckworth and John Clarke, U of W Vice-President, about the method used in the selection of students to the Director of Education Search Committee. According to Schwartz, the students had been selected by “conservative faculty members” rather than by the UWSA. At the time, both Duckworth and Clarke assured him that in the future, the UWSA would select students for such committees.
Schwartz thinks that the lack of student representation on the present Task Force has possibly hindered the productiveness of the committee. It did not examine cutbacks or university services such as the quality of teaching, academic counselling, lab classes, and the public health nurse.
“They were frightened to confront those issues because they deal with the university establishment,” said Schwartz.
Duckworth was asked about Schwartz’s complaint concerning the appointment of the evening student by the Dean of Students rather than by the UWSA. He replied, ” I would suggest that Hart should attend the open meeting.”
(The open meetings are) where members of the university and the public can voice their opinions and discuss the report with the Task Force on Academic Development members.
To find out more about Tanya Lester, go to other posts on this blog at writingsmall.wordpress.com or tealeaf56.wordpress.com or to her website at teareading.wordpress.com or pages on Facebook, Linked, Twitter or Google.