Sunday, June 01, 2008

Microcosm of Nocosm

... Universities have come to be seen by many a student activist not as a place of inquiry, but as a place where students are to be imbued with the tenets of social responsibility and taught to promote a better world, a place where politics are viewed not as a competition of ideas but as a war of ideologies, and a place to train ideal citizens by inculcating in them a comprehensive worldview.

A competing claim is that because universities should be places of inquiry, students should come away not with a comprehensive understanding of the world, but with developed intellects suitable for critical thought, and thereby for engagement in an advanced democracy. The mission in this case is not to train ideal citizens, but better citizens, and restrictions imposed upon campus debate must be seen as anathema to this conception.

Though the idea of a university as a place for students to learn to engage in a democracy appears to be more palatable than the universalizing mission conceived by those who believe they are promoting a better world when preventing certain groups to operate in student union controlled space, both views are equally misleading, if not outright spurious ...

Carson Jerema, Universities can't save the world.

Also, from University students: ignorant, apathetic dolts?
... But for all the posturing that both student executives and their critics make about the importance of democratic principles, student democracy has never really existed, and if it did it was long ago, perhaps in a galaxy far, far away. Therefore, student democracy can’t fail, if only because it is impossible to erode something that isn’t there ...