Tuesday, May 21

Lamentations of a weeping scholar

I weep for my profession, once noble and grand,
Institutions crumbling, like castles in sand.
My heart breaks for colleagues, their careers laid to rest,
Souls shattered, dreams shattered, as mine in unrest.

Academics, esteemed, soon left in the cold,
Their jobs sacrificed for avarice, untold.
Administrative staff, bloated and vast,
While scholars find solace in futures amassed.

And in this turmoil, we must not overlook,
The void that’s left behind, the knowledge they forsook,
Departments eviscerated, eradicated whole,
The future students suffer, denied a broad role.

But ivory-tower dwellers, aloof and detached,
Vice Chancellors, managers, their tongues lightly latched,
Phrases of “staff wellbeing,” empty as air,
“Tangata, tangata, tangata,” with no care to spare.

Their decisions, they claim, bear the weight of the crown,
Leadership’s burden, their fortunes renown.
Yet what lacks is guidance, a beacon of light,
Leaving scholars adrift, with no freedom in sight.

When I entered the academy, my PhD held dear,
An achievement of innovative and discipline made clear,
In pursuit of truth, science’s noble aim,
Debates fuelled by rigour and evidence, not mere acclaim.

Alas, the march against science, unyielding and strong,
An ideology festers, distorting what’s long.
Those in power, a small elite class,
Enriching themselves, while knowledge they harass.

Brave voices emerge, speaking out with care,
The “Listener Seven,” their conscience laid bare.
Pilloried and scorned, their responsibilities stripped,
Reputations tarnished, their spirits eclipsed.

The Royal Society, a guardian of science,
Fails to defend reason, rejects the alliance.
Concerns raised in The Letter, reasoned, just and fair,
Diminished by the very institution meant to care.

Government incentives exacerbate the plight,
Preferential treatment, based on race, take flight,
Funding decisions, a biased display,
Maori researchers, given double the pay.

University leaders, surrendering their voice,
Embracing discrimination, a terrible choice.
Promoting anti-intellectual endeavor,
Ignoring the truth, undermining forever.

The Vice Chancellor, promises to discuss,
The issues at hand, a matter of trust.
Two years have now passed, with no action in sight,
Empty words linger, truth vanishing from sight.

Decades have witnessed the honorable decay,
A bludgeon of authoritarians’ foray.
“Equity” their battle cry, relentless and stark,
Destroying foundations, a soul-shattering mark.

Yet, they fail to perceive, the majority’s plea,
Non-extremist Kiwis, who yearn to be free.
Trust in the media, tarnished and worn,
As faith in academia, steadily torn.

As long as social warriors dominate the stage,
True leaders must rise, like lions from a cage.
Defending the telos our institutions hold,
Welcoming controversial truths, bold and untold.

Let the bullies be silenced, their power undone,
No more cries of “racist,” an unjust battle won.
May leaders arise, with wisdom and might,
Embracing the academy’s true guiding light.

Oh, let us glimpse a future, devoid of disdain,
Where intellect and reason shall evermore reign.
A time when scholars, unafraid, take their stand,
To help society flourish, hand in hand.

May we know this era, when freedom prevails,
When knowledge thrives and bigotry pales.
And in this realm of wisdom, let it be,
A sanctuary for seekers, a sanctuary for me.