Demonstration highlights lack of student engagement

Earlier today, several members of the activist group AW@L made a presentation in the Concourse with the intention of making students aware of the “culture of fear” endorsed by conservative and progressive governments.

In order to share this message, AW@L member Dan Kellar wore a mask identifying himself as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and delivered a speech utilizing irony and sarcasm to highlight the problems in the Conservative government’s practices and ideologies.

Following the demonstration, Kellar explained the “culture of fear” being created by governments, stating, “[It promotes] that we shouldn’t speak to our neighbours or shouldn’t speak to our communities, [but] instead, we should rely on the state and other actors to keep us safe and keep us prosperous.”

Drawing a crowd of just over half a dozen people during the course of the demonstration, Kellar commented on the lack of student interest, he explained, “In the last few years it’s been a marked absence of a lot of critical thought and action on these campuses in Waterloo.”

“I mean it’s disappointing that students don’t want to engage,” he continued. “With the neo-liberalisation of the university [and] the commodification of our education, all that really matters is getting that piece of paper and education has been reduced to marks on a transcript than actual learning and critical thought.”

Citing recent government spending on fighter jets that could have been better appropriated to student loan programs, Kellar said, “We could eliminate all student debt in Canada and have free and open education for all students.”

“All we have to do is step up and start resisting the military industrial complex which is really siphoning money away from public services,” he concluded.

For a story about a demonstration held by AW@L earlier this week to raise awareness on the arrests made at the G20 protests in Toronto, click here.