Friday, January 28, 2011

I had a really good day. Lots to reflect upon in the consulting arena.

I noticed a student wearing one of the S.O.S. buttons in last night's class. I asked her how the walk out was, and whether it was well-attended, and she said it was great, and yes, including lots of media. Here's the article about the protest. I didn't ask her whether any faculty attended, didn't want to pry. Reading the article, it appears that any faculty who were there were graduate teaching assistants. Or at least no other instructors are mentioned. GAs have their own union, and own set of rules. So maybe all faculty members who let students out of class and encouraged them to attend the protest were graduate assistants. I am not sure whether their participation raises the red flag of the Taylor Law, but I suspect it doesn't and that explains the teach-in angle. I didn't hear them marching or banging pots and pans, but I didn't venture outside at that time. I used the tunnels to get to class. I've been using them this winter in order to avoid ice. I can't afford to fall again.

I was a little tempted to use the protest as an example when I was telling the students about the critics of toleration, in particular when I mentioned conflict theory (a conflict theorist would say that the university tolerating such activism is just an "opiate of the people" and the walk out will have little influence) but I didn't. I stifled myself from using the protest as an example, even given that I always take the vanilla approach - neither endorsing nor condemning such theories. I just explain that proponents say eliminating toleration does not improve things for the disenfranchised - in fact, it makes it worse, so what are the anti-toleration theorists hoping to achieve? Still, using yesterday's activism as an example seemed mean-spirited, and as uncomfortably true as some of conflict theory's cynicism can seem at times...I am too much of an idealist myself to rain on the students' parade.

I have an old S.O.S. button, and these two other buttons that relate to my system days. The current button is larger, and yellow. I would have loved to get one for my collection, but as a non-participant, I suppose I don't deserve one. I see that UUP was more supportive of the group's agenda in the '90s. Does it seem there was always a crisis? Even in the days people now look back on with a nostalgic glow?

No comments: