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Voices from the Margins: The Regulation of Student Activism in the New Corporate University

This article critically examines recent revisions to student codes of conduct in Ontario’s universities, by focusing specifically on York University. It illustrates how these policy changes have been informed by a new rights and responsibility discourse designed to reduce political conflict on campuses. Couched in terms of promoting student inclusion, fairness, and campus safety, this discourse works with managerial technologies to increase the surveillance and regulation of student political advocacy work. I argue that these changes to student codes of conduct obfuscate the ways in which corporate-service sector relations operate to depoliticize student dissent and silence marginalized student voices, especially voices that raise controversial issues of oppression and challenge the status quo. In developing this argument I also discuss the contradictory and uneven ways that student activists respond to these discourses, and the effects of this new regime on the social organization and social relations of students’ political activist work. (Read More)