Author: Jeffrey

The U of T is not a political football

The U of T is not a political football

Editorial: Learning loss is bad everywhere, and demands immediate action

A decade ago at the University of North Carolina, an article called “Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina” was posted to the department’s student newspaper. When it appeared in print I was told by the editors that they did not have the space to print an article that would have any impact on the entire university.

It was a sobering read. The writer spoke of the need for institutions to put their best interest ahead of political considerations. She quoted the president of the University of Southern California who warned that “The University must not be known as a political football.”

It was the right thing to do.

I have been on the receiving end of the “political football” refrain.

The U of T president repeatedly has said publicly that the U of T is not a political football. This, in fact, is one of the reasons the U of T administration is reluctant to bring down the curtain on U of T political activism, because the university’s political activism would be seen as a liability.

It is interesting, however, that U of T president Meric Gertler is willing to accept political activism as part of the university’s normal operations. To the contrary, he had no problem with the students’ decision to participate in the Oct. 20 referendum that removed a single dollar from the university’s $150 million annual budget.

In March, I wrote Gertler’s office to ask if he and his administration would support students’ efforts to prevent a university-wide strike or other anti-university action in the spring. When I received no response, I wrote again. I was told that if my message was not in the next month, I could expect him to respond.

In the last month I have received no response. In fact, the university’s response to the students’ referendum campaign is only to complain, as expressed in the March 29 statement: “The University believes

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