Old wounds have been re-opened as a result of the recent conflict in Israel and Gaza. There have been several anti-Semitic incidents, including this one at Glasgow University, and students at other universities have also reported incidents. It seems that the much-vaunted anti-racist strategies are not working.
Having alienated many of its members, including Dame Maureen Lipman, and expressed strong political support for the Palestine case, Equity has now apparently woken up to the fact that it has also been supporting anti-Semitism and has issued a statement.
Universities are also struggling to contain their own trend towards draconic trivia. The Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, Stephen Toope, has now withdrawn the guidance which aimed to control facial movement and expression as part of their code of conduct. According to the Daily Telegraph, some of the fellows are in “open revolt”. Not before time, perhaps.
There is some good news from California where a plan to decolonise mathematics has been rejected. The idea was that concepts of right and wrong answers should be abandoned as too colonial.
Another school has been taken over by the pupils, or the adults behind them, as they seek to enforce their own particular world view on everybody else and use the claim of “Islamaphobia” to silence those with different views. Joanna Williams argues that school should not be proxies for political battles of wider society. And the head of Allerton Grange School should be commended for teaching pupils that wearing symbols is no substitute for ‘talking to people and discussing it and articulating your message.’
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has challenged Robin DiAngelo to a debate over her contested theory of white fragility. Whether Ms DiAngelo will have the requisite lack of fragility to take up the challenge remains to be seen.
This coming week we have an Academics Group Meeting on Tuesday (June 1st) where Dr Phil Hammond will be introducing a discussion on Intersectionality. Readings are available on request. We also have a joint Education/Arts-Culture group meeting on Wednesday (June 2nd). Drop us a line if you would like to attend either, or both, of these meetings.
There is no regular Monday meeting this week because it’s a Bank Holiday.