The contemporary university: “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia”

James Compton, President of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, on the entrenched administrative ethos of perennial budget cuts:

In each case the dry calculus of utilitarianism is offered to suggest nothing can be done, except encourage troubled academic units to reimagine themselves in ways that might make themselves more competitive. This is the language of Responsibility Centered Management, a popular form of managerialism, . . . that overlays a utilitarian cost-benefit framework over all problems and discussions.

This attitude, which presupposes and exacerbates forgetfulness, is both a reflection and a cause of cultural decline and self-destruction. What, after all, is the point of academies of higher learning?

Allowing arts and humanities programs to cannibalize themselves is not the answer. Without their wisdom we cease to be a university.



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