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 –