Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Improving CMU, part 2

This is a continuation of an idea I had for a poll on the Livejournal side of my blog. I have more than three ideas, and want to talk about them a bit.

Universities should, in my opinion, be organised around the following purposes:

  • Provide for the advancement of science
  • Provide for the advancement of culture
  • Provide for the improvement of people
  • Improve the world
Specifics of the organisation and subgoals follow from those broad goals. I have selected some ways in which I believe CMU can be brought more in line with my interpretations of them:
  • Remove ROTC from campus - The principles around which ROTC (and the US military) are organised are incompatible with improvement of the human condition - their bans on homosexuals are socially regressive, the training they provide is incompatible with the spirit of inquiry and egality that are essential for social advance, and their mission is not substantially connected to that of Universities. I understand removing ROTC programmes involves cuts in funding and possible bans on some forms of government grants - I feel this is a price worth paying, and ideally CMU could band together with other Universities to "go on strike" collectively to force a change in the laws that cause this
  • Close the Tepper School of Business - Tepper is an embarassment to the University, with combined incompetence/arrogance on IT matters (that embarass CMU/CERT), excessive emphasis in University growth (examine the non-Pgh campii), and a focus on an entepreneurial/functional spin on the topic of business
  • End and ban all CMU projects that are focused on advances that primarily advance US Military interests, refuse grants or involvement in future such projects. Fire all professors/staff (irrespective of tenure) who were involved in projects where they reasonably would have known the purpose of their research was primarily for such purposes.
  • End and ban all CMU research in psychology that involves animals that would be euthanised, injected with or exposed to potentially harmful substances/conditions, involved in surgical procedures (interpreted broadly - any opening of the body) not useful for their individual health, or otherwise potentially bringing harm to said animals (regardless of use of painkillers - interpret harm more similarly to how it would be interpreted for humans rather than "do they suffer pain")
  • Release free patent licenses for all patents the University has/acquires to all groups, companies, and individuals willing to sign a patent cross-license grant (irrespective of if they have any patents), alternatively release patent grants to the general public and commit to acquiring no further patents and attempts to use prior art to nullify as many patents as they are able. Commit to similar provisions for other forms of Intellectual Property - Universites exist to directly serve the public good, and participation in the IP system (except in a manner that directly subverts it) tarnishes their efforts towards that goal.
  • Recognise the importance of student culture on campus beyond providing funding for student groups - Permitting/encouraging growth of local culture should be considered in everything from room allocation to outreaches to the broader city community
  • Do not outsource janitorial or other on-campus tasks - provision of university benefits to all members of the campus community is important and has traditionally been part of how universities were run.
  • Establish a preference for opensource/free/unix software in all departments of the University, requiring justification for every piece of software that is not and comparison with opensource/unix alternatives. Remove the current emphasis on out-of-the-box software environments, encourage use (and development) of locally (or other-university) developed technology.

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