University, Inc.
Joining the Circus

Guest Blogger: Ksenija Berk responds to University, Inc.

From Dori:
Ksenija's response to my posting, University, Inc. provides some insight into how the University system operates among the Central and Eastern EU nations. I elevated her comment to the blog site in order to generate more comments on how University systems work in other places.

Ksenija's Post:
What is to be done?

Well, I think the first step is to recognize what’s going on and discuss all the threads, misconceptions, manipulations and often so swiftly disguised in the system we are often completely unaware of their existence. I share the views Dr. Michael Hertzfeld and the role of contemporary Universities in global societies. I would like to add another “eroding” issue that has not been discussed so much lately, because somehow we all assume it has been erased from our Universities a long time ago that of  the “white-male dominancy”. But we could not be more wrong.

Do you really think that the collapse and demise of totalitarian regimes has brought freedom and democracy to the Universities everywhere? This time I want to raise my voice and show irregularities happening in so called “equal” members of European Union, who could not differ more. In several ‘newcomers’ to the EU most of the University professors practically stayed the same (I must be fair to those who have always been bright examples), not to mention the educational programs ( I don’t even want to go there). One can’t expect things can change over the night and the same goes with people, as with the University professors in this particular case. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks! Why do we always assume people can change? Some people can’t change and the others do not want to. Many of them are still practicing the white-male dominancy thing, based on the hierarchical system of power and they see “quota-system” just as an exception to the rule, using it as a convenient shield and excuse, while laughing at the world with fists clenched in their pockets.

What’s really worrying me is when I have realized that many students still do not have any legal chances to complain, protest or change the situation. They are terrified of never finishing their studies if they ever dare to question their masters, for they know what happened to those few courageous ones who have at least tried to make a difference with some actions as critical writing in the media or informing the international community. They have never been expelled as I would expect - no, the masters have rapidly learned all the tricks of the new system - they just never get the chance to defend their already written diploma theses' and get inevitably lost in indescribable complicated bureaucratic procedures.

I think this is the right time to bring some positive change here!


Second thing I’d like to share with you is the new issue of transversal web journal on knowledge production and its discontent.

When knowledge production becomes the raw material of cognitive capitalism, what becomes of the old factories of knowledge, the universities? With the rising importance of knowledge, they move to the eye of the storm, become objects of desire of neoliberal transformations, objects of competition between regions and continents, but also subjects of struggles against these transformations and competitions. Though the university as a privileged site of struggle has – except for a few moments in time – been only a myth, in recent months there seems to be a rising tide of conflicts around it, in different places around the globe.

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eipcp - european institute for progressive cultural policies


ksenija berk

Latest news to expand my blog response - Germany probes university professors over corruption charges.

Focus (Sunday, 22. August 2009), reported that the professors from a dozen German universities took payments of between 4,000 and 20,000 euros ($5,700 and $28,600) to grant doctorates to students. Prosecutors say they are investigating 100 professors across Germany on suspicion they took bribes to help students obtain doctorates

More in Focus (German version)
and on Deutche Welle (in English),,4591787,00.html

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