Students and university scene
EducationHigher EducationPolitics

Look to Labor Law to Solve Student Association Conflicts

A few years ago, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the University of Windsor was withholding the health and dental insurance money that it collects on behalf of the University of Windsor Student Alliance. Allegedly, the university was fretting about the governance of the student association. The story sounds similar …

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Acupuncture
Higher EducationScience

Selling and Promoting Alternative Medicine Around Campus

There is a lot that is wrong in the world today, and this is far from the worst problem. But it has been bugging me for several months now: my old university sells homeopathic medicine in its drugstore. Most readers of the Skepchick Network will know what homeopathy is, but …

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Protest
Critical ThinkingCultureHigher Education

Towards a Campus Activism Reading List

Last month, I was reading an article written by (or at least attributed to) the Canadian columnist Margaret Wente entitled “The radicals have taken over: Academic extremism comes to Canada.” It’s a fairly standard take down of campus anti-racist, feminist and pro-LGBTQ politics, but I was interested in how it …

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GovernmentPrimary Education

Canada’s Residential Schools: Abuse, Disease, Colonialism, and… ESP Tests

December 15th, 2016 marks the first anniversary of the release of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The Canadian TRC was about Canada’s residential school system for indigenous children. The schools were mandated by the federal government but were run by churches and were sites of awful abuses. The secular …

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Critical ThinkingCulturePolitics

You Don’t Need Me to Refute This White Nationalist Poster for You, but Here You Go Anyway

This past fall, the above poster appeared on some U.S. campuses. The first appearance that I can find was on September 26th at the University of Michigan, and then on November 14th, a group called Fordham Students United reported that it was posted on their campus. It bears the same …

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EducationHigher Education

Precarious Academic Employment and Material Goods Do Not Mix

This week is Fair Employment Week in Canada. It’s an annual event put on by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and their provincial counterparts to raise awareness of the precarious work conditions of adjunct employees. The week is usually marked by sad stories of the economic difficulties faced by …

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PoliticsScienceTechnology

The Atomic Priesthood and Other Opportunities for Cross-Campus Collaboration

Last month, I wrote about how the Sokal hoax was an opportunity for humanists and scientists to cross campus and start working together, and that one of the fruits of this collaboration is the relatively new field of ecocriticism. Peter C. van Wyck’s book Signs of Danger: Waste, Trauma, and …

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Politics

If You’re That Worried About the P.C. Police Coming For Your Job, Then Join a Union

The media loves to hate political correctness, especially political correctness in academia. Political correctness, they tell us, is aiding terrorism and threatening our freedoms. Never mind that a white nationalist is the Republican nominee for President of the United States: to these pundits, it’s those damn kids in college with …

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The cover of issue 127 of the journal Social Text
Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPublishingScience

Evaluating the Sokal Hoax Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in May 1996 (okay, twenty years and four months—sue me), Alan Sokal, a physicist at with appointments at the University College London and New York University, published a ground-breaking paper in the respected critical theory journal Social Text. The paper has been highly influential. I learned about …

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GovernmentPolitics

Students Do Not Need Campus Political Parties to Be Politically Active

This fall, as thousands of new students pile into colleges and universities, they will explore the many clubs and student societies on offer. Many of them will join the youth or student wings of mainstream political parties, which will be especially prominent given the upcoming election in the United States. …

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