26 March 2010

From the safety of the ivory tower

Some professors at the University of Regina don’t like a scholarship for the children of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

They argue it “glorifies imperialism” and:

“It conflates heroism with the death of individuals who are in the military service and we think that the death of individuals is always a tragic matter, but we think that heroism is something different,”

Lots of people conflate lots of things but in this case one is tempted to suggest that the learned ones at Regina U have conflated their thoughts with anything approaching reason.

But in light of these thoughts offered from the prairies, one wonders what the view is at the administrative level at a university that is part of the scholarship program, a university built as a lasting memorial to men who gave their lives in military and naval service.

Noreen Golfman, Memorial University’s managerially-challenged grad studies dean, wrote a piece for the now defunct Independent back in  January 2007 in which she vented her frustration over the prevalence of images from the war in Afghanistan during the holiday season:

Every time you opened a newspaper or listened to the news, especially on the CBC, you were compelled to reach for the box of tissues. If it wasn’t a story about some poor sod’s legs being blown off then it was an extended interview with some dead soldier’s parents. Indulging in another bite of dark chocolate was meant to be more painful this year. Here, have a plate of guilt with your second helping, my dear, and pass the self-reproach.

Golfman also lamented the lack of protest in her typically insightful way:

What in the world is going on? Where are the protest songs of yesteryear? I guess, when General Rick “MUN graduate” Hillier invites you to come along and share the joy ride you have to join up faster than you can say “Bob Hope is dead.” Reading Mercer’s widely circulated piece on the joys of serving gravy to the grateful Canadian boys was almost as painful as watching Peter MacKay flirt with Condoleezza “Condee” Rice.

One wonders if then Professor Golfman, now Dean Golfman, still holds the same miserable opinion of the men and women who served in Afghanistan.  Some of them might be graduates of Memorial or, mercy sakes, might even be graduate students there.

Does she share the  views of academics at Regina? Did she offer her opinion of the Project Hero scholarship before memorial endorsed it?

Perhaps she might be moved to offer a comment if she has the time, that is, coping with the financial mess in the grad studies school.


Related:  Rick Mercer’s answer to Golfman.