Saturday, March 7, 2015

Seven From The Same Mold?

All from the same mold? Candidates for rector of the National University.
The Universidad Nacional, Colombia's largest university and one of its most respected ones, is in the process of selecting its next rector, to serve from 2015 - 18. The new rector is to be chosen from seven candidates by the High University Council, which has only one student among its nine members.

As always, the selection process is generating opposition - unsurprisingly on the far-left campus. Student activists want to have vote and voice on the selection. The students will proceed to hold a vote and choose a far-left candidate - and be ignored by the university administration.

I have a suggestion for the university. Take a look at the slate of candidates: They all appear suspiciously white, male and middle-aged. Why not encourage women and minority candidates to participate (there and also on the council), and perhaps the student activists will be more willing to believing that the administration is open to new ideas.

Colombia's largest public university has serious issues of infrastructure, tuition and access to education. Perhaps by bringing in people of different backgrounds, the university can find novel answers to its troubles.

Wall art on the National University campus calls for electing leftist, one-time sociology Prof. Miguel Angel Beltran as rector. Accused of being a FARC guerrilla agent on campus, Beltran was imprisoned for two years, released and recently stripped of his title as professor. 
Encapuchados, or hooded activists, express their position about the rector selection on the Plaza del Che.
A banner by the university entrance about the rector selection. 
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


coolcoil said...

Seven from the same mold? Unless you have knowledge that you have not chosen to share in your article, it appears to me that you have arrived at a conclusion about the candidates based only on their appearance. That seems very illiberal. Had the Marxist candidate proposed by the students been included in that line up, he would not have stood out.

By the same token (a very appropriate word in this case), your assumption that the inclusion of women or Afro-Colombian candidates would mean that they think differently than white men does not hold water. I can tell you that in large international company for which I work, there are plenty of women and African-Americans whose thought processes are indistinguishable from their white male colleagues. Conversely, there are plenty of white guys who come from different backgrounds and bring a completely different perspective. Further, the belief that the students would be mollified by tossing in a few politically correct-appearing bodies is condescending and almost certainly mistaken. Take a look at the history of far-left movements - rarely a woman to be seen in leadership positions and non-whites only in countries that have few whites.

Finally, I really wonder that you find it "suspicious" that the candidates are all middle aged. Are you suggesting that somebody right out of University can have the necessary experience to be the Rector.

That said, please keep the articles coming. I don't agree with your politics, but I do find this blog to be very worthwhile reading. I see stories here that I don't find anywhere else.

Miguel said...

Hi Coolcoil,

Good points. Still, in a place like Colombia - and many others - a person's race and gender can be at least an indicator of their likely experiences, if not always their thinking.