Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On the freedom to sigh

As the new academic year gets underway, one suspended don, the professor Thomas Docherty from the University of Warwick, faces disciplinary action for ‘insubordination’. Docherty is a distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at Warwick, but he’s also a critic of the direction of what passes for university education today.

The charges against him are said to include an incident in which he is accused of ‘sighing’, inappropriate and negative body language and making ironic comments about a candidate who he was interviewing for a departmental role.

From the outside, it all looks like petty departmental politics – an internal issue outsiders shouldn’t be bothering themselves about. But putting Docherty on a charge sends out a message to everyone in the university sector: not just ‘shut up’, but ‘shut up and don’t even show, in any way, that you don’t like what’s going on’.

And yet, at this critical time for academia, in which debate and contestation needs to happen, the expectation is not only that academics will voice no ‘negative criticism’, but that they will also show no expression of disagreement whatsoever. It is a message to comply and conform, to be quiet and sit still.



Bird of Paradise said...

Their no longer schools or places of education their leftists indoctrination centers

Anonymous said...

Obviously he is not a socialist which would make him an outcast in any university in this day and age.