Wednesday, January 23, 2008

[Higher Education] An Article From The Nation: "Repress U"

I would've gone with "Repression State" myself, but hey....

Free-speech zones. Taser guns. Hidden cameras. Data mining. A new security curriculum. Private security contractors. Welcome to the homeland security campus.

From Harvard to UCLA, the ivory tower is fast becoming the latest watchtower in Fortress America. The terror warriors, having turned their attention to "violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism prevention"--as it was recently dubbed in a House of Representatives bill of the same name--have set out to reconquer that traditional hotbed of radicalization, the university.

Building a homeland security campus and bringing the university to heel is a seven-step mission:

1. Target dissidents. As the warfare state has triggered dissent, the campus has attracted increasing scrutiny--with student protesters in the cross hairs. The government's number-one target? Peace and justice organizations.


2. Lock and load. Many campus police departments are morphing into heavily armed garrisons, equipped with a wide array of weaponry, from Taser stun guns and pepper guns to shotguns and semiautomatic rifles.


3. Keep an eye (or hundreds of them) focused on campus. Surveillance has become a boom industry nationally--one that now reaches deep into the heart of campuses.


4. Mine student records. Student records have in recent years been opened up to all manner of data mining for purposes of investigation, recruitment or just all-purpose tracking.

And so on.... click the link for the whole article; I've omitted a fairly large amount.

One of the things that makes this possible is the corporatization of the university structure. Fight that, and it becomes harder to make, say, Oregon State into Police State.

If I were faculty, I'd be fighting a lot of this under the purview of academic freedom and/or working conditions - how is free inquiry supposed to happen in such an environment?

Hint: It's not. A large part of this is really about reining in anything remotely resembling free inquiry. It has little, if anything, to do with terrorism, and a lot to do with ideology.


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