It is surreal for me to believe that I am eight weeks done with my Master's program. It is unbelievable for me to recognize that I have over 750 pages of peer-reviewed, edited, and authored literature ranging from topics within higher education, policy and education, critical theory, criticality in international higher education, and even higher education as it stands for different groups of people like students with disabilities, Students of Color, and faculty/staff.
We live in a world where we expect and acknowledge that education at its core is becoming privatized and commoditized at a growing and alarming rate. Despite efforts from educational administrators, the grasp of big business is slowly becoming tighter on the frail fiscal being that is higher education. Plain and simple: Educational institutions do not have the funds to do what they were designed to do. Looking at primary schools, there are schools that are shut down for simply not having some type of break time. Is this important? Yes, but schools sacrifice this time for more instructional time because the students crave the knowledge more than anything else. When we look at secondary schools, we see the relationship between public schools and public people and that if there is no money in the public, very little is going to be reinvested in the school district. This is an unfortunate reality that many people will not face but for those forced into these gentrified districts they are given under-resources schools and expected to thrive when no one is expected to give them the resources. Looking at higher education, we see academic faculty being denied grants, tenure, and promotions simply because they are writing information that makes them happy and excited about their work. Why would a faculty member spend 5-7 years working on becoming an expert in their career to simply just let it be and use their bare research skills to do research for companies that are fueling the commodification that faculty are trying to prevent.
At any level of education, there is a cost. The more and more I read about education at any level, the more I see the cost and its impact on students. The cost is real, not transparent, and rarely benefits the student. How do mitigate the cost then without sacrificing the educational experience? Only time and active resistance will tell.
To consider myself ashamed to live in the world we would be an understatement. Over the past three weeks, hate, bigotry, and darkness have come from the nation's capital. As someone who consistently tries to understand the experiences of others, I pride myself in being not okay at times. What I am not okay with, I learn from. I learn how to address it in the public, private, and create a change that goes from me not being okay to me being okay enough to address it. That is a part of my privilege. My privilege exists as a man, a white person, but ALSO as a white man.
Dr. Christine Ford is and will forever be an icon of a series of events that I believe catapults into a slippery slope with no chance to get back on track. Fueled by her civic duty, Dr. Ford made the choice to tell the world her story knowing her life could potentially be at-risk. The person on the other end of the stick chose to use his power to degrade Dr. Ford and make her appear that she was something less than human. His hate was fueled by his desire to become something he arguably does not deserve. When will it be time to address the broad issue of sexual assault? When the person assaulted is ourselves? Or own people? Someone we love? Care for? Trust? Unfortunately that already happens and the world as the way it is should seek to change so that Survivors can live the lives they deserve without the fear of retaliation.