institutions exchange the promise to follow their policies for the right to operate as an institution

UBC and LAWYER stare at Policy with an identical stare across a table, somewhere.

Policy Police: Why didn’t you follow the policies?
UBC: It’s not technically illegal not to. That means there are no consequences for breaking them!
PP: That’s not what it means at all.
UBC: Our lawyers found a way to legally remove a freedom we promised a student from a student and we followed it to the letter.

(LAWYER nods head, emphatically.)

PP: You can’t remove a freedom from a student.
UBC: We told you. The *lawyers* told us we could. (more vigorous nodding.)
PP: Your lawyers work for an institution that requires all its officers to refrain from improper conduct.
UBC: You are worse than the student is! We told them we only care about improper conduct that also breaks the law. Our lawyers said the other two definitions of improper conduct aren’t technically illegal so they’re perfectly fine to break!

(PP stares at the lawyer, realizes it’s just a hand puppet over UBC’s fist and pulls it off. Its Puppet Lawyer Degree falls onto the floor and scampers off stage left. PP stares at it for a moment before looking back to UBC.)

end scene

All it took for a case study of an institution shitting on everything it should have valued were two officers acting in bad faith, terrible policy training, and blind loyalty to the officers of the institution instead of the institution itself.

I want to turn the whole story into a BDSM puppet extravaganza when I can laugh about it. The idea of having a one-sided, four-year conversation about academic freedom with an institution that’s supposed to value it and the only response I ever got from them that even addressed my concern was one instructor, near tears, asking me why I asked such difficult questions will be funny to me, someday.

Every other person ignored the question. Academic freedom is the freedom to be heard.

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