For some reason, universities do this thing where they give people “honorary degrees” in commemoration of a person’s career. While it’s understandable why we might give a shout-out to an influential person, especially someone like David Suzuki, it seems like an “honorary degree” is a weird way of going about it.
They just give you a degree, as if you studied there, but really you haven’t even stepped foot on the campus.
People in Alberta are pissed off right now because the University of Alberta wants to honor Suzuki, an environmentalist vehemently opposed to the oil industry, one of the province’s key industries, in fact, it’s the most crucial one.
The last three to four years have been tough in Alberta, a lot of people are out of work.
Canada provides a good portion of the oil supplied to the United States, with the vast majority coming from Alberta, and the already existing infrastructure between the two countries makes the job easier to do.
However, people like Suzuki have talked mad shit about the oil pipelines, and the Trans-Mountain Expansion Pipeline is up for debate.
And for good reason, it’s time that we switch over to cleaner forms of energy. Our dependency on oil needs to be alleviated.
But, isn’t that so easy for a person outside of Alberta to say? A person who’s not in the province, who isn’t out of work, whose career is fundamentally different from the one we speak of?
This all goes back to the dichotomy between the privileged elite in academia and regular working-class people – boots to the ground, nose to the dirt.
These are people who are out of work, they don’t have a means of paying their bills. Yet, they have to listen to the world rant about what assholes they are because they want to capitalize on their land’s natural resources.
I understand their frustration.
There’s nothing worse than listening to a University educated, spoiled young kid – who’s mom and dad paid their rent and tuition fees at one of the most prestigious universities in the world – rant on and on about how awful all of these privileged white people are and their oil sands.
How dare they capitalize on the resources beneath them? Why can’t you just like, you know, do something else?
Why can’t you get your mom and dad to drop $40,000 on an education in English Lit like me? It’s understandable though.
Alternative forms of energy are the future. Oil is a disaster.
The issue of academic integrity is on the line in the particular case as well, because the University doesn’t want to back-track on a decision purely because of money. And they shouldn’t back down.