How’s this for irony?
The Secret Cartoonist exhibition taking a satirical look at NUI Galway’s management of gender discrimination issues at the university was taken down in the middle of the night – only hours after President Michael D. Higgins, speaking at a conference at NUIG, said it is critical for universities to encourage opposing opinions.
A Gender Equality campaign supporter says the exhibition was still in place Thursday night at 10:30, but was gone by 5 am when the cleaners arrived. Security admit they dismantled the exhibit on orders from ‘management’ but will not say who ordered them to take it down. They also admit that the exhibit was damaged, acknowledging that glass covering one of the cartoons was broken.
NUIG Students Union President Phelim Kelly is furious and fighting for the exhibit to go back up, insisting that the SU has the right to display it. He added that he has a mandate from 26 student societies for the SU to support the Gender Equality campaign.
Meanwhile, nearby in the Bailey Allen Hall where the annual conference of the European Universities Association was being held Thursday, President Higgins said universities are facing an ‘intellectual crisis’ over their role in society.
Universities, he said, must be allowed to flourish as spaces with the intellectual courage to reject dominant ideologies and encourage the seeking of truth from fact, The Irish Times reported.
‘Fostering the capacity to dissent is another core function of the university’, President Higgins said. ‘Third-level scholarship has always had, and must retain, a crucial role in creating a society in which the critical exploration of alternatives to any prevailing hegemony is encouraged.’
Needless to say, the universities still need to do their homework.
The full text of The Irish Times article on the president’s speech is available by clicking on this link: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/president-higgins-universities-facing-intellectual-crisis-1.2602607