It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Originally posted by dirtonwater
I am suprised at the people who think this guy did a good thing.
So lets say I want to be a lawyer. I am totally stupid but have the money for law school. So, according to this prof, I just pay the money and get all A's. I don't have to learn anything. No effort. Just pay the money. Cool.
Originally posted by cognoscente
How could you even say that? There are alternatives to University. You are absolutely free to take a different route. The University should NOT modify itself just to appease your poor intellectual appetite. I am totally enthusiastic about every dumb little course I take. If you lack the mental faculties to transform all that "stupid information" into something personally valuable, that says a lot about your deficiency in character. I've absorbed everything I can from Anthropology, Philosophy, Math, Economics, Sociology, Game Theory, and much more. I'm ready to write my own god damn treatise on human nature.
I think this all comes down to what we value. If you think something is useless just because you will earn less money from it than learning something else, that's one place we differ. If you think the amount of money you earn is a representation of your "contribution to society" then that's another. Our system for the division of labor in a capitalist society is what is creating these divergences in the perspective of value. I honestly don't blame you. There is an increasing dichotomy between the natural human condition (a desire to be creative, to learn through exploration and freedom of thought) and the societal functions we are expected to play in adulthood and in the labor market in particular. This difference is becoming harder and harder to reconcile as time goes. As capitalism expands, a lot of people are becoming richer by way of extricating this natural human condition, ultimately leading to the ossification of society and its few remaining value systems.
In Canada and the U.S. we are definitely heading toward an information-based, post industrial society. So I believe a lot of these things will be remedied in the future. But it might also place a burden on students and young entrepreneurs to become even more inflexible in the way they receive and process information.
I don't know which way we're heading but we would all be a lot better off if people were just more enthusiastic in their studies, regardless of what they were learning. There is so much that people just don't realize they are capable of. If you are only completing your degree to earn a pay raise at the local firm, and if you're not doing this as a means to advancing your career in some purposeful way, then there is no point of even going. You would be much better off starting your own business, or roughing it out in the private sector through sheer experience and determination, or at least acquiring some basic skills at a technical college.
Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 08:05 PM CDT
GDC Local 6 Rallies for Dissident Professor Rancourt's Reinstatement
The University of Ottawa fired Denis Rancourt, a physics professor, renowned researcher, and IWW member on March 31, 2009, while he was speaking at an academic freedom conference in New York City.
The university sought to dismiss him on the basis that he had awarded high grades to a graduate level physics class, which Rancourt says he did in order to remove competition and performance as they are obstacles to learning. The university claimed that Rancourt’s marking damaged the institution’s credibility as an academic institution.
Rancourt has said that the university’s board fired him before an April 1 deadline to submit a legal brief in his defense and that it ignored his submission of his students’ exams as proof that he was evaluating students properly. The university disregarded the union’s collective agreement and the grievance procedure by firing Rancourt without allowing him due process in his defense.
The Association of Professors (APUO), a registered trade union that represents university faculty, has announced it will launch an inquiry and it will likely appeal the firing in court.
It appears that among the real reasons for the university’s attempts to discipline me since September 2005 and for its recent most harsh actions against me under President Allan Rock’s mandate might be the administration’s opposition to my political views about the Palestine-Israel conflict, which, starting in 2005, I have expressed in articles, on radio, in my blog postings, at public venues, and in my classes. In September 2005 the dean cancelled my Physics and the Environment course following a complaint (regarding an email comment about Zionism), channelled through the university’s Canadian Studies Institute director Pierre Anctil to the VP-Academic. A complaint against an invited speaker in the course, Professor Michel Chossudovsky – who spoke about Middle East geopolitics, from the Jewish Student Association then gave rise to a sustained but failed attempt to discipline me. In 2006 I invited two Canadian-Palestinian speakers to address the class in my Science in Society course. This was followed by a damning January-2007 editorial in The Ottawa Citizen and I was subsequently removed from teaching all the first-year courses that I had developed. The Ottawa Citizen is a CanWest newspaper and its director is a member of the university’s Board of Governors.2 CanWest Global Communications Corporation is a staunch advocate and supporter of Israeli policy. In 2007 I criticized the university’s official position on the academic boycott of Israel on my UofOWatch.blogspot.com blog. The repression against me intensified when new university president Allan Rock, a staunch supporter of Israeli policy (see footnote in following post), arrived on the scene in July 2008. I was disciplined for the UofOWatch blog with an unpaid suspension in September 2008, by a decision of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors (EBOG). The latter suspension was followed by many more severe actions against me (see below) and is being used by the university as an argument in my dismissal.
The university became markedly more aggressive in its attacks against me after the arrival of Allan Rock in July 2008. Whereas, previous disciplines that started in 2005 were limited to letters of reprimand and of allegation (all withdrawn or overturned), the arrival of former federal politician and proven supporter of Israeli policy Allan Rock coincided with:
- my removal from all teaching
- a one-day suspension without pay for my blog critical of the university,
- an unannounced lockout from my laboratory actuated under false pretext,
- dismantling of my laboratory,
- my removal from my graduate students,
- reprisals and intimidations against my graduate students,
- university-imposed unilateral deregistration of my undergraduate research student,
- an unannounced firing of my research associate of 12 years,
- my suspension from all my duties,
- my physical barring from campus, including from my weekly campus radio show,
- a lockout from my office,
- my police arrest under a false claim of trespassing while hosting my regular weekly Cinema Academica event,
- public university statements defaming me, and
- my dismissal – allegedly for having assigned twenty three A+s in a combined fourth-year and graduate physics course.
The March 31st university decision to dismiss me was itself tainted with Israel-aligned political influence. The decision was made by the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors (EBOG) with members Allan Rock and Ruth Freiman present.
Allan Rock’s ardent support for Israeli policy is evidenced both in his political career and in his actions on campus as president at the University of Ottawa: In 2004, under Martin’s Liberal government and as Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, Allan Rock changed Canada’s longstanding foreign policy on Israel from abstaining on human rights resolutions for Palestine to being one of the few countries in the World that vote with the US and Israel against UN human rights resolutions for Palestine. In July 2008 the media reported that Allan Rock participated in a trip to Israel “partly financed by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA)”, along with five other Canadian university presidents. The media reported that Mr. Rock’s visit “yielded immediate results” as “the University of Ottawa agreed to launch an exchange program in law.” After a few months in office, President Allan Rock announced his plan in October 2008 for the University of Ottawa. This plan included what he calls putting “Canada’s University in the service of the World”. In explaining it to students on October 24, 2008, he talked about exchange programs. When one student asked if Palestinian students would be allowed to participate in the exchange programs with Israel, Mr. Rock stated that he could not answer that. In the fall of 2008, the University of Ottawa chapter of the independent student-run Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) took a principled stand in line with its mission statement and refused to sponsor a Hillel event due to that organization’s stated unqualified support for Israeli policy. Allan Rock responded by pressuring the student union (SFUO) president to write a letter condemning OPIRG. A letter from the SFUO president delineated the administrative relationships between the SFUO and OPIRG and this letter was made public by Allan Rock on his president’s “Rock Talk” blog. Allan Rock also publicly stated that he would look for an “administrative” mechanism to deny OPIRG student-levy funding (which has been approved by a student referendum). In 2009 the Rock administration banned a student poster announcing Israeli Apartheid Week - a move widely criticized in some media such as the CBC and in the student media. This type of interventions by a president of the University of Ottawa in the affairs of student groups and associations was unprecedented. It is consistent with the increased political influences in recent years from pro-Israel-policy groups on Canadian campuses - documented in the media, such as in this February 18, 2009, CBC-Ottawa radio report (in real media audio format).
With grades students learn to guess the professor's mind and to obey. It is a very sophisticated machinery, whereby the natural desire to learn, the intrinsic motivation to want to learn something because you are interested in the thing itself, is destroyed. Grades are the carrot and stick that shape obedient employees and that prepare students for the higher level indoctrinations of graduate and professional schools. The only way to develop independent thinking in the classroom is to give freedom, to break the power relationship by removing the instrument of power.
The stated reason for the University of Ottawa's actions is Rancourt's assigning of A+ grades to all students in a fourth-year physics course (PHY 4385 - cross-listed with PHY 5100) in the Winter 2008 term. Rancourt gave out the grades, which were officially approved by the university, because he believes that rank-ordering students is at odds with effective pedagogy. Thus, to achieve a similar effect as the pass/fail system, which is not approved at U of O, Rancourt handed students the highest possible grade so that they could not try to do any "better" and thus, in his view, focus their attention on learning. Rancourt has asserted that: "Socrates did not give grades...[m]y job is to educate. Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that what we've been doing with the grading system doesn't work. We are creating obedient employees, but not people who think."