Rude Notes in a Den of Whores: The Truth About Northampton and China

Another week has gone by since I posted about a mysterious 'new lead' in my long quest to have someone at Northampton University engage with me over China and Tibet, and not surprisingly, I haven't heard a thing from him. Clearly, nobody in this place is going to talk to me, not even the lecturers' union - you know, those people who were supposed to care about these things.

In the meantime, on Thursday last week, the local paper - who wouldn't publish a letter from me on the subject either - announced that the University was expected to have the sixth largest fall in the number of enrollments for 2012/ 13 in the whole country. Which works out, apparently, at roughly 350 fewer students.

Of course, this had nothing to do with increased tuition fees, according to someone from the University, and was "in line with their predictions" (they used some management-speak phrase like that). And the Uni wasn't concerned because they were seeing a concomitant rise in students from overseas, who don't register on the same enrollment list. So the edifice wasn't about to fall down around their ears or anything.

Just think about that for a moment, gentle reader. Overseas students. How much do you want to bet a large number of those are from China?

The closeness of the University's relationship with China is truly staggering. I did a little research today and found out that the CEEG, or the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Enterprise and Governance, based at Northampton, has what it calls "international partners" in Shaoguan and Beijing, and a partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, set up in 2010. Since 2011 the centre has included the China, Transitional and Developing Economies Group.

"The work of Professor Richard Sanders," I quote from the university's own website, "has influenced Chinese government policy towards the management and funding of rural business development." All of which is fine and dandy. Shame it hasn't done anything to prevent the thirty+ deaths by self-immolation in Tibet since 2009, not to mention the shootings, beatings,disappearances and persecution of anyone
trying to practise their religion in peace.

Funny how what Mr. Sanders and Nick Petford and Bruce Hodder (just about, although I have no money) enjoy in England - the freedom to live our own lives without undue molestation or the presence of an occupying army on our streets - isn't supposed to matter to other people. Not when it gets in the way of a good profit anyway.

I almost wish I hadn't found these things out because now I feel as if I'm studying in a den of whores. Northampton University should be thoroughly ashamed of itself for associating with those murdering CCP bastards but it won't see anything even vaguely wrong with what it's doing; and if any of the people I've tried to talk to over this spent even sixty seconds thinking about my emails before they pressed the delete button I know I'll be the one who's dismissed as a crank.

Better to be a crank than a realist, I say, if realism is doing business with killers.

But now I'm stuck in a University I've lost every ounce of respect for with one year of my degree left to do and a dissertation on postcolonial literature,of all fucking things, to write. Yes, these people teach that invading other countries, brutally suppressing the native population, destroying their culture and stealing all their natural resources is wrong.

I love some of the people I've met since I started at the Uni, but the more I think about the institution itself, the more I have to hold my nose just to get through the door.

Mark Twain:

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”


Birthe said…
Dear Bruce,

I started reading( from the top that is, as you do) and thought: a Postcolonial dissertation, not very suprising, made me smile, I know you've got a lot to say about these things. And then I read on, and on, and on, and got more and more angry. This ignorant behaviour of those who are supposed to care at least a hint about concerns raised by their students, is just simply unbelievable and I share your anger. I nearly thought how glad I was to have left said institution but then I remembered the visit of a radical muslim preacher at Surrey at the end of last year. A complaint letter to a very biased article about this visit in our student newspaper, was turned down in a very similar way as yours. I guess there is something rotten in the world of academia, whether you tend to the right or left, you are presented with just simply unbelievable amounts of radicalism and even worse: ignorance and carelessness. I hate the idea to be preached and forced upon with someone elses ideals and beliefs, after all I have my own humble little head to work things out. I want to be in an environment where you can, well, learn. After all that's what we're at Uni for. I do not want to be indoctrined with radical ideas, with said ignorance and the very least would I want to see our Universities turned into capitalist havens (surprise, I really just said that,I, Mrs Conservative) concerned less with the welfare and education of their students and of the world at large, but with their own financial greed.

But regardless of all, keep your head high. I am proud to know someone like you who has the guts to try and raise issues like these and to persevere in getting his voice heard. Stick with it, and with the cours. I'm only two hours away from my postcolonial lit. exam. I've really begun to detest this subject, with all its two-facedness. So this is going to be a lot of fun this afternoon. I'd rather stay in the garden.

I wish you good luck, with this, with your writing and your studies, which are, after all, not too bad and nearly almost enjoyable :-) .

Lots of love,