To intervene or not to intervene – that is usually the question

Foreword:

As many of you know I have decided not to sign a further contract at the College and so will be leaving at the end of this academic year. A number of people have asked me about the reasons for my decision and I hope that the article that follows will convey these. The real sticking point for me is the change in the definition of marriage. I think I could have coped with the other issues, but it does not seem right that a UWC of all institutions should be discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation.


This article was initially sent to both our Board, and the International Board in early October, with a request to correct any factual inaccuracies and an invitation to write articles to accompany this one, expressing their perspectives. Our Board replied briefly with veiled threats. The International Board did not respond directly, but I was informed by the Executive Director of UWC that the article was not appropriate for United World. I asked if they had any suggestions of alternative ways in which I could make my concerns known to other stakeholders in the UWC movement, but to date have received no reply. The 2008 contracts are similar to the 2007 ones referred to except that the “Code of Practice” has been removed, but the confidentiality clauses and the “clarification” of the definition of marriage still remain. As you will see our Board, and the International Board, seem to pay little attention to the views of staff. (Maybe in Hong Kong, where democracy continues to be side-stepped, governing without consulting those affected and expected to implement the changes, is indeed a “local value”?). Perhaps the only thing that would influence them would be if National Committees (especially those that pay full fees!) were to stop sending students to LPCUWC. If you are as disgusted as I am by what has been taking place you may wish to circulate this article to anybody who might find it of interest, especially your National Committee and co-years at other UWCs.

To intervene or not to intervene – that is usually the question

As a preamble to the main subject matter, it is often said that the strength of an organisation can be judged by the extent to which it facilitates healthy discussion within.  In that context I wonder whether United World, to which I intend initially submitting this brief article is just a publicity publication, devoted to positive spin, or a forum for healthy debate about the movement.  If the International Board prefers to keep it as a glossy shop front, then this contribution will probably be rejected.  In that case, then what channels of communication have they made available for interchanges of ideas and opinions within the movement? These are attributes more commonly associated with totalitarian regimes rather than the progressive educational institutions that UWCs profess to be.  Is this the type of behaviour we should be modelling for the young people that we have been entrusted to educate?  I believe the actions documented above are totally contrary to the principles that unite the grass roots of the movement and that it is the duty of the International Board to safeguard these principles and protect the good name of the UWC movement. Read the full article: Dr. John Green’s article

– United Words –

2 thoughts on “To intervene or not to intervene – that is usually the question

  1. John Green is the only person with some influence I know so far who has stood up against discriminatation at LPC through action and personal example. In my two years there, appart from having a great time indeed, I had to see how positive discrimination kept a violent person (towards the community, myself included, after several witnesses had spoken) able to graduate with the others, just because his parents were powerful. I saw, as well, how negative discrimination sent aa African guy back home on the first go without having conclufsive proofs of infraction (this, told by the VICTIM, who was also expelled a year after for drinking alcohol in campus and sleeping with his girlfriend). I still wonder what is more harmful for a community…. Because before that, I thought (apparently stupidly) that violence would be inacceptable beyond any other offense. But guys, that depends really on WHO YOU ARE…

    I went though all these years asking myself the reason of the movement… Why should I still believe that I went to this ideal place named itself “United World College”. And my conclusion was to believe in the idea, but NOT to believe in my college. I am disgusted as many others about ths issue agains homosexuality, but absolutely hopelessly convinced that no action will be taken. As usual, the school will cover up the issue and move on. Year after year i have been informed about different violations to the basic rights from the school, and year after year I have seen how after a while they were hidden in a box and stored in the basement.

    This is how it works…. We are so focused in our own belly that we dont want to put our eyes looking at any incomfortable situation…. Hopefully, this time, the issue will be “important” enough to catch our attention.

    Good luck and strengh,
    Sonia

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