Neoliberalism has transformed the campus political landscape here at U of T.
According to the Meeting Minutes, UofT Governing Council, on 27th April 2009:
‘Professor Misak thought that the [Flat Fees] Model was a very good one. Most importantly, it would encourage students not to think of individual courses as commodities but rather to think of a year’s studies as a coherent focused whole.
’This means that students admitted into Arts & Science for the academic year of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 will have to pay for the five full-time courses, even if they only take four or less!
To advance University’s privatization agenda, the ease with which the language of ‘anti-commodification’ was used shows us that the idea was based on the way people ‘experience’ commodities. The payment by the year would surely cost the students at the Arts and Science Faculty much more—but the students will ‘experience’ their education differently. This would definitely win points in the academic community, Cheryl Misak being a philosophy professor would be well aware of that. Her strategy could be of a depoliticization one in which we could assume and accept that her concern about commodification is sincere.
Misak’s commodity ‘experience’ could be one of the reasons why we linger towards ‘representing’ radicalism rather than producing condition for the actual radicalism. What does it mean to be radical or what steps may be taken for radical transformation? These are not easy questions to answer.
These may have been answered by The Ontario Public Interest Research Group, a forum for uniting research and activism and also exploring alternatives to conventional education systems. They have nine ‘Action Groups’ active on campus aiming to fight against injustice and frustration. They also encourage you to start your own to fight for change!