the UBC and monkey paw legal advice

The thing about magic in fairytales is that it almost never actually works for long if it is not used by a wholesome person for a wholesome reason. Using magic for ill always has a cost. The monkey paw legend is a good example of this. Whatever happens does so exactly as requested but each time, with dire consequences.

The UBC asked the wrong question when they asked the lawyers what was asked of them. No one was going to be arrested for violating policy. No one was going to be arrested for redefining improper conduct definitions to just the definition that a lawyer needs to care about.

No one will even get arrested for having the legal opinion lawyers can decide policies don’t have to be followed despite policy not being a legal matter. In the “did you answer the client’s questions correctly” category the UBC lawyers would get a 100%.

Nobody will get arrested.

But they work for an institution. If the institutional officers decide they’re not going to play by the rules, the institution is the one that bears the brunt for not stopping itself from violating its own policies. It’s not up to an officer of an institution to look away from improper conduct.

And through it all, UBC students were held to the student misconduct policies, even though only plagiarism is illegal. The UBC thought it could punish its student body for conduct violations without holding its officers to the same expectations.

There is nothing worse in this world than hypocrites. Holding young people whose frontal lobes haven’t fully developed to the expectations their staff were advised the institution was totally cool with violating enrages me as an educator.

By thinking they could eliminate two of the definitions of improper conduct, the lawyers committed improper conduct to advise improper conduct could be committed. Just from a policy perspective, what they did was improper and should have been dealt with. But despite their professional code of conduct as lawyers saying otherwise, the UBC university counsel believed they had the right to decide how something well outside their expertise will be administered.

Against an expert in that field. An expert that the Law Society of British Columbia suggests to suggest to the client to be referred to (if my training documentation were up to date and signed off on correctly, of course.)

I tried to report the most obvious case of academic freedom violation and retaliation I had ever heard of in my academic history. But lawyers decided that they got to decide which reports of harassment the institution wants to hear.

No one is going to be arrested, but someone has to answer for the harm done to the student. A student was told, “look, even though we put zero thought into this, we all think that you just don’t have any right to complain.”

Since my complaint was “just” about academic freedom, the UBC didn’t even take the complaint. They thought they could unprotect academic freedom so they thought they did. Any protection for my activities that ought to have been protected was null and void because lawyers thought they could decide it was.

It was also something he had zero clue about and an obligation to report his knowledge as such.

But because of that buffoonery, I wasn’t even to be given an appeal based on an academic freedom violation because my harasser had not broken the law. That was all the “don’t do bad stuff” a lawyer could dream of in his philosophy.

And despite the fact that I knew the UBC didn’t have a toe to stand on, I only asked the Director of my program for an apology. She was so incompetent that she told me that my thinking MFAs need a workable pedagogy and her thinking that an anti-pedagogy that harms learners in the long run but produces great student evaluations in the short was just a “difference of pedagogical opinions.”

I have always known that the primary function of any university was academic freedom. I understood that institutions do not get to decide which complaint they wanted to hear or what policy they want to follow. I knew that no institution can just decide to unprotect academic freedom.

I have always known that pedagogy must be explainable.

But my complaint about the quality of my education once it was revealed that not even the director understood how what they taught in class assisted the learner in their goals wasn’t heard. The UBC already thought it could control which complaints get made.

Any policy change must go through a risk assessment to the institution’s reputation. Instead, lawyers thought they could just say academic freedom was unprotected and be done with any obligation to the truth, its pursuit, and the interrogation of the status quo forever.

All the while, their institution was holding a symposium on the subject.

The Honourable person whose summary was accepted the last time the UBC fucked around and found out about academic freedom actually spoke at that symposium. The board of governors’ head guy stepped down for one statement that violated academic freedom.

Dr. Ono turned violating academic freedom into a UBC cottage industry.

But there will never be a law that says “hey, don’t do the kind of shit that gets your ass fired from any job.” Freewill is still free. If your institution says don’t do this and a meatsack does it, it’s not up to the other meatsacks to ignore it happened.

And the fingers on the monkey paw spring back to three for the next sucker who just wants to wish away their problems. The paw is a metaphor for the consequences of not doing the hard work to solve your own problems, you see.

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