COLUMN: Levant – You can’t reform a university

- July 17th, 2012

Take donation and run!

by Ezra Levant

Calgary businessman Clay Riddell made a mistake: He thought he could donate $15 million to Carleton University in Ottawa. Should be easy. But it wasn’t.

Riddell made the donation at the request of Preston Manning, another Calgarian. The idea was to set up a non-partisan school to train political campaign managers. Ottawa seemed the place to do it.

It’s called the Graduate Program in Political Management, or GPPM. Anyone can apply — not just conservatives like Manning and Riddell. In fact, paragraph 14(b) of the donation contract Riddell signed when he gave Carleton the money established an oversight committee that guaranteed the program “exposes students to the partisan nature of the political environment from a cross-partisan perspective.”

The school was the vision of Manning and his non-partisan Manning Centre for Building Democracy. It’s a noble thing, building democracy. And teaching would-be campaign managers skills and ethics is a good thing. But the donation still offended the hard left-wing union called the Canadian Association of University Teachers. They’re so extremist they actually sent $20,000 of their union members’ money to Quebec to help fund the student protests out there. There is virtually no left-wing cause that CAUT doesn’t support — from the Gaza Strip to the general strike in Spain against cutbacks there. But they don’t believe others should be allowed to be political, if they’re conservative. And so they have demanded that Carleton reject Riddell’s donation.

And, being typically spineless bureaucrats, Carleton seems to be complying with CAUT’s busy-body demands. They’re renegotiating their contract with Riddell.

It’s bizarre stacked on top of bizarre. CAUT is outrageously partisan — denouncing politicians they don’t like by name, funding political groups. So it’s clear they’re not against politics on campus — they’re just against politics they don’t agree with.

But the deeper weirdness here is that the Riddell gift is contractually bound to be non-partisan. And students who study there say they can’t detect a bias — in fact, if anything, it’s non-conservative.

Here’s my advice to Riddell: Take your money and run.

You cannot reform Carleton, or any other Canadian university. There’s a reason it’s called university and not “diversity.” Because they don’t allow different points of view anymore.

Do you really think all of the politicized university departments that have sprung up over the past 25 years — women’s studies, peace studies, environmental studies, vegetarian studies — are genuine places of open-minded inquiry and debate? Of course not — they are permanent, tax-paid political campaigns. They train political operatives just like Riddell wants to do. But these faculties teach a left-wing dogma, and brook no dissent.

And they’re vicious in their peer pressure. Try getting tenure if you’re a scholar who disputes the theory of man-made global warming. But unlike most of the Media Party, they’re all unionized government bureaucrats, too. Which is why Canada’s public sector professors are the highest paid in the world, according to a new study by Boston College.

Left wing, job-for-life, unionized, leftist, political pundits, working eight months a year. That’s most of liberal arts these days. Riddell should take his money and split it up amongst 30 different Canadian conservative groups — the Fraser Institute, the Frontier Centre, the Canadian Constitution Foundation, even my favourite, EthicalOil.org. It wouldn’t be vetoed by leftist unions, frittered away on six-figure professor salaries or sucked up by massive overhead.

And, in the end, it would probably achieve more for the Canadian greater good than anything a dinosaur university ever could.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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8 comments

  1. Gustave Dekking says:

    Mr. Levant. Your argument is proof positive that Carleton University did the exact correct thing. Your idea of what a government should be is one brick removed of fascism. Thank goodness Carleton has the wherefore-all to not agree with your politics and ideology. Its disgusting, as is the weasel Mr. Manning and the Harper Government which is born out of this.

  2. Andrew says:

    Mr. Dekking. A small request to you. Please stop using vocabulary which you do not understand. Fascism? Evidently, you have no clue what it means, except for being a quick and easy way to discredit your opponent without having to present your own point – provided that you have one. Well, something tells me you are a proud graduate of one of those pseudo-departments at Carleton.

  3. Alain says:

    Gustave Dekking’s comments are positive proof that Ezra is correct, and that Gustave does not appear to understand the meaning of non partisan. I agree that Carleton like most universities are beyond reform, and that we need to stop subsidising them. We are subsidising all kind of useless rubbish from “gender studies” to sexology and marxism as opposed to learning critical thinking and useful degrees.

  4. Papa says:

    How about some basis for this tripe, Gusty. You know, facts, truthful argument.

    Like every extreme leftist like you, you have given away who the fascists really are with your caricature of a personal attack. Unfortunately for you, we real Canadians are smart enough to know better. Now please run along back to your impending irrelevancy.

  5. Bill Elder says:

    Hey Gustave, anyone who would label a libertarian PM, a western populist politician or a civil libertarian Jew a “fascist” has political identity issues of their own. I suggest you take a time out and research political ideaologies and take a long critical look at your own before you start branding people with non sequitur labels.

    Or are you giving us an example of the distorted political monoculture at Carleton?

  6. dugbru says:

    @Gustave Dekking Like most lefties you are for free speach, as long as it’s your free speach.. Wanting to stop this and wanting to silence Liley shows who that fascist is .. Go look in the mirror Gustav he’ll be staring back at yuu and drooling…

  7. Loren Z says:

    Gustave, did you read the article? Were you able to comprehend it, digest it? The column quotes paragraph 14 of the donation contract established an oversight committee that guaranteed the program “exposes students to the partisan nature of the political environment from a cross-partisan perspective.” Do you understand that? Your tactics rely on name calling and blank accusations without supporting facts. Your intelligence digresses to throwing a bucket of green paint on a person and then calling him green. I clear sign of a person with no understanding of logic or debate. A person who did not receive a proper education.

  8. brianmouland says:

    Hey Gussi why not throw Carleton a few bucks from your bottle and can picking route

Comments are closed.