Our universities have caved in to lazy groupthink

Our universities have caved in to lazy groupthink, by Bella D’Abrera.

In the lead-up to Friday’s Global Climate Strike, enlightening emails have found their way into staff and student university in­boxes. These communications are as illuminating as they are disheartening, as they once again reveal the extent to which our institutions of higher education have been captured by ideologically driven activists.

The array of carefully crafted messages that have been doing the rounds at Notre Dame, Queensland, NSW, La Trobe and Melbourne universities range from the subtle suggestion that staff may like to “accommodate” striking students, to robustly and actively encouraging students to ditch their studies and take to the streets to yell about climate change.

Without exception, all students have been informed that they will not be penalised for absenteeism and that there will be absolutely no repercussions for non-attendance. This is completely at odds with standard university attendance requirements, which are markedly unforgiving. …

It smacks of ideological totalitarianism, where staff and students at our universities are being compelled to conform to the orthodoxy prevalent on campus.

The question is, what will become of the rebels who choose to go to class? Their presence in the lecture theatres will single them out as dissidents and they will be judged accordingly as climate change deniers. Never mind what they may think about climate change in private, their public inaction will condemn them in the eyes of their peers.

As it turns out, the same fate is awaiting those Victorian public servants who, rather than joining their colleagues on the streets of Melbourne, have chosen to remain at their desks. …

What we are seeing on campus and indeed in government is the spirit of the mob at work. …

The Global Climate Strike shows that universities are no longer the chief institutions through which knowledge is preserved, generated and disseminated. Australian campuses are rapidly becoming places where intellectual inquiry is being crippled and the free exchange of ideas is severely limited.

So stop funding our public universities, until they do their job properly. We have a conservative government — why the delay?