Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brawl breaks out at human rights seminar

Some of the most idealistic young people in the land today are aiming for careers as professional human rights activists.

Don't laugh; there really are such careers. They exist mainly in that segment of the economy known as "civil society," and near as I can tell they'll be spending their professional lives writing grant applications on behalf of NGOs, looking to wheedle money out of the big foundations. In other words, after your four or five years at university you'll graduate with $75,000 in student loans only to spend the rest of your life sitting in a cubicle filling out forms for twenty-five grand a year.

That's not for me, but those youthful idealists will discover the reality for themselves in the fullness of time. In the meantime, one of most highly regarded schools for this sort of thing is York University. York is to human rights education what Wharton is to business education.

And it was at York last week that long-simmering tensions in a graduate class on Human Equity erupted into name-calling and veiled threats. By "veiled threats" I mean the persons making the threats were veiled. And no, this wasn't jihad-comes-to-college; they were threatening each other!

Luckily, before this became a full-on burqa-shredding brawl, an impromptu inter-faith delegation of peace-makers was able to separate the disputants.

I hope they get bonus marks.

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