What happens now

Sorry for the quiet here. Overwhelming week between stuff happening on campus and this thing called my job (which included some awesome out of town guests and the American Anthropological Association conference this week into this weekend).

I wish I had something more profound than “ugh, this again” to say about police violence spreading to other campuses, but I’ll let others speak about it. Cathy Davidson is calling this a “Gettysburg Address Moment for Higher Education” and I take her point that “students are not the enemies of administrators unless we invite them to be.” But I also think this moment is about more than dialogue between administrators and everyone else.

Last week, the McGill senate broadcast its proceedings, which is notable only because security had kept people out of previous senate meetings even though there were seats for observers and some of those seats were open. But despite all the high minded and collegial talk, there is still conflict. This is why, at minute 19, you can witness the entire back row get up and turn their backs to Dean Jutras of the Law School, who by all accounts is a decent and fair person. But the issue isn’t whether people like Jutras or if he’s fair. It’s what he is and is not empowered to do.

Jutras reports directly to the principal, who has dictated the terms of investigation into the events of November 10th, and who has therefore dictated some very narrow possibilities for its outcome.

This is not meaningful civil dialogue. This is the practice of uncivil governance in the guise of civil dialogue.