People Against Militarization of OISE (PAMO)
Date: December 11, 2004
OISE is a world-renowned education institute. Many students enroll in OISE's programs because they provide an excellent opportunity to think, speak and write critically from anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, feminist, anti-homophobic, democratic and similarly social justice oriented perspectives.
In September 2004, Atlantis Systems International, a Toronto/Brampton/Texas based corporation which contracts with Canadian, Australian British, U.S., Duch, Saudi and other militaries (www.homesnotbombs.ca; www.atlantissi.com &endash; customers/partners), has announced its partnership with Institute for Knowledge, Innovation and Technology (IKIT)/OISE/UT. Atlantis S. I. produces simulation training systems for military (seventy percent of their revenues) aircrafts (some pictures of these aircrafts, such as F-15 Eagle, can be seen at http://coat.openconcept.ca), among other things. It is hoping that the research led by the world renowned cognitive scientists at IKIT/OISE Dr. Marlene Scardamalia and Dr. Carl Bereiter, will improve and expand their products destined to be used in wars. Andrew Day, Atlantis S. I. CEO, says openly that the partnership will create "recurring revenue opportunities for our company and create added value for our customers by allowing us to apply these capabilities to our existing products and services. It also paves the way for our entry into other markets." (www.atlantissi.com &endash; press centre).
It is also mentioned in the report that Department of National Defense is willing to partner with IKIT/OISE as well.
Many faculty and students at OISE have signed petitions and written letters to the dean of OISE Jane Gaskell. Jane Gaskell, who represents herself as a feminist, supports this military partnership by saying that it is a matter of "academic freedom" to allow it, and that the University of Toronto's ethical review policies totally support it. The research that IKIT/OISE created and named "Beyond Best Practices " was approved in 2002 and it also received the biggest SSHRC grant ever &endash; $3.9 million with all international and localpartners having their own funding. It is only two years later that Atlantis Systems International and the DND want to join it. The first part of research was planned to develop a theory(s) and the second part is supposed to be a practical application of developed theories. It is in this second part that the DND and Atlantis want to join. The university does not require any screening for new partners if there are no changes to the research (communication with Normand Labrie, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies) and this is what is meant when it is said that UofT policies support this partnership.
People resisting militarization of OISE have argued that existing UofT policies are inadequate / incomplete and that the existing loopholes support certain interests or beliefs (corporate / military). We know that these policies are not fixed and that they must change.
UofT policies screen researchers' treatment of research subjects. However, they do not have the mechanism to screen research either for its direct and indirect purposes or for its short- and long-term implications. Thus, researchers are free to develop and test their research on children in our public schools (three Toronto public junior schools are partners in this research) and then use it for corporate and military purposes among other things (Department of National Defense and Atlantis Systems International as new partners to the same research).
Guidelines are necessary to make University more responsible and less negligent to the people of Canada. This is also our global responsibility.
Academic Freedom vs. Academic Fascism
People Against Militarization of OISE (PAMO) believe that dean Gaskell and the administration have hijacked the meaning of academic freedom.
As a result, this single term represents two different meanings.
One meaning is to produce research for peace - civil. The other is to produce research for war - military.
The former one, we call academic freedom. The latter one, we call academic fascism.
As a result, these new partners to the research will change ethicality of the research and its effects on society.
What do Dr. Scardamalia and Dr. Bereiter say?
Reporting on the GSA meeting from November 25, 2004, where Dr. Scardamalia and Dr. Bereiter were invited guests.
They say that:
Opposition voices are narrow in the sense that they are supported neither by the government, political parties nor UofT policies.
After asserting that they have no connection to the military, they try to justify their involvement in it by asking:
The above sections describing IKIT's representatives' perspective remind us of Orwell's 1984. In newspeak and doublethink &endash; "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."
Also, remember the words of the U.S. President General Dwight Eisenhower in his Farewell Address 1961.
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."
How does juxtaposing Toronto Public Schools as partners in IKIT's research and military institutions as partners in the same research feel?
What is the connection between children in our public schools and soldiers?
Toronto Public Schools Military
North Agincourt Junior Public School DND
Rose Avenue Junior Public School Atlantis Systems International
University of Toronto Schools
While there are many, the obvious three are:
1. Dean of OISE Jane Gaskell, Dr. Scardamalia and Dr. Bereiter of IKIT/OISE claim that partnership has not yet been signed. Andrew Day, Atlantis S.I. CEO and Blake Melnick, Head of External Relations at IKIT, however, say that IKIT and Atlantis S. I. "have partnered." This statement was made in September 2004 in a report made available and can be found on Atlantis S. I. Website www.atlantissi.com (press centre) among three or four other websites.
2. Dean Jane Gaskell, Dr. Scardamalia and Dr. Bereiter claim that Atlantis S. I. has passed through UofT ethical review or in the words of dean Gaskell, "Atlantis makes an ethical case for its work " According to Normand Labrie, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, however, new partners (year 2004) to the already approved research (year 2002) do not have to be screened &endash; not unless research has to change due to the newly announced partnerships.
3. Dr. Scardamalia and Dr. Bereiter claim that the report on IKIT/OISE &endash; Atlantis S. I. partnership written by Homes Not Bombs is untrue.
However, there is a great consistency between information in the report by Homes Not Bombs and information found on the Atlantis S. I. website. This means that the report written by Homes Not Bombs is a source of correct information.
Without Homes Not Bombs's report on OISE and their action to inform us, OISE would never know about involvement of military entities in research in one of its institutes (IKIT).
Without Homes Not Bombs, many faculty and students at OISE would never have a chance to fight militarization of OISE. PAMO is grateful that Homes Not Bombs have exposed this the issue and informed us about it. PAMO welcomes collaborative work with Homes Not Bombs on the issue.
Ivona Vujica, People Against Militarization of OISE.
I have a statement to make.
We are in total support of those faculty who are either against the proposed partnership between IKIT/OISE and the Department of National Defense and military contractor Atlantis Systems International and those faculty who want to see a moratorium on the partnership until we can get a fair and democratic assessment of the proposed partnership.
However, as PAMO &endash; People Against Militarization of OISE, we assert that this military and military contractor partnership is a very dangerous and serious development in the social sciences, particularly in the education field OISE.
But just as serious and troubling would be those faculty who fall silent, indifferent or apathetic to this partnership.
PAMO submits that if this partnership is not halted immediately, we are prepared to take arguments of academic freedom or "administrative freedom" and push it to its fullest meaning &endash; to parents, teachers, politicians, media, students, lawyers, unions and all concerned individuals.
Do the right thing OISE: don't let the chickens come home to roost!
PEOPLE AGAINST MILITARIZATION OF OISE
Ivona Vujica, PAMO Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Marlene Scardamalia, Director email@example.com
Jane Gaskell, Dean firstname.lastname@example.org
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