In my post Boots on the Ground I mentioned some U of M students who had occupied the Presidents office and were arrested. The good news is there have been articles in the local paper almost every day since, describing the process of punishment, and making the administration look like the petty tyrants that they are. The sweat shop issue has gotten amazing exposure but unfortunately the courageous students are being made examples of. In yesterdays Missoulian article , front page, the dean of students Charles Couture threatens the students with suspension as "a lesson in consequences". This little bureacrat wants to " educate them about making more adult decisions in the future" so they could " learn from their behavior". He wants to lecture them, force them to hang their heads and apologize like children, which of course none of them did.( I ran into Kendra, one of the ringleaders, last night) So they were suspended for three days, "we feel part of the maturation process is for students to be held accountable". Condescending twits, so "mature" in their display of power. They have not seen anything like the end of this. here is my letter to the editor: (thanks go to jonathan Swift)
In regard to the students who are being punished for protesting the use of sweat-shop labor in the manufacture of Griz wear, I wish to commend the University for “educating” these students on being such “good global citizens”, as described in the universities mission statement. This “lesson in consequences”, as dean Couture so eloquently puts it, teaches that a good citizen is above all obedient to those in authority and fearful that privilege will be taken away if he/she acts outside the acceptable range of behavior. After all, one may ask the powers-that-be politely for changes to policy or even cast a vote but one may never act in any disruptive manner! Because a university prepares students for life, this is a great opportunity for them to learn that just as “students are to be held accountable”, powerful institutions and their administrators can go about their business unconcerned about such niceties as human rights or social justice. Also reinforced by this “lesson” is one of society’s most cherished values, “look out for Number One”. A good consumer, ..er..I mean citizen, knows that rocking the boat will only lead to punishment and the possible loss of material rewards. It is great to see all the staff and students who remain unconcerned and apathetic and who have taken these lessons to heart! This is part of “the maturation process” dean Couture so ably promotes, keep your eyes cast downwards, don’t make waves, just work, shop and shut up. Also commendable is President Dennison putting his concern for anti-trust law above any silly concern for exploited workers. This teaches students to get their priorities straight. Well done U of M!
Lost in all this is the fact that the administration will go to any length to keep it's sweat-shop suppliers in business, coming up with lame excuses or just displaying simple pig headed defiance.
"Maturation process"! I believe the president is headed for a run in with the Montana Wobblies and he can't suspend us. We aren't particularly susceptible to his criticism or worried about his authority. He will be held accountable.