Saturday, November 10, 2012

Waterloo's Dubai Campus Fails, As Predicted

In 2009, despite protests from faculty, the University of Waterloo opened a campus in Dubai.

Now, just three years later, it is closing. Big surprise there. Administrators were warned that it was unlikely to succeed, and if I remember correctly, our School of Computer Science voted against it. There was a lot of opposition to setting up a campus in a place with little protection for free speech and a free press, as well as violations of women's rights and gay rights.

By the way, the article in the Record I pointed to above is the typical shoddy job done by local reporter Liz Monteiro. There is nothing about how much this failure has cost the University (if anything), nor any interview with anyone originally opposed to the campus, nor any investigation of why the campus was set up to begin with. This is not good journalism.


Danny Sleator said...

You say "as predicted", but I don't find a link to the article or blog post the predicted it. Can you supply the link to that prediction? Thanks.

Danny Sleator

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Danny: It was predicted by many people in our department, but most of them don't have blogs.

Tim said...

One bit of commentary that comes to mind are these 2009 remarks from then-FAUW President David DeVidi, who remained laudably politic about Dubai in particular, while yet noting that

...faculty need to carefully
scrutinize administration claims: will
a particular proposal actually help
solve the problem it’s advertised as
[R]umours abound that the
small number of overseas programs
that have drowned in a sea of red ink
is about to grow considerably. So if
someone is advertising an innovation
as a potential moneymaker, ask these
questions: how does this solve the
problem, which is a budget shortfall
next year? What are the chances that
it will really make money? What are
the costs that are not being taken into
account? It’s always a time for good
new ideas. A crisis is a time when
people are more likely to confuse bad
ideas for good ones.

Tim said...

Oops -- pushed "send" without adding that those remarks were from FAUW Forum 141, pp. 9-10.

Anonymous said...

The real question is how much the university president's buddy in Dubai got for the construction contracts and that kind of jazz. I just think you're not seeing the big picture here, Outlaw, and if you did, you'd agree the Dubai campus was an excellent decision.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

What's the big picture, then?

Gerry Myerson said...

Without going into the details of this particular venture, isn't it, in general, a good thing to open a university in a place where it might be able to do some good by encouraging human rights?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Gerry: it's an interesting argument. I remember during the divestiture from South Africa movement in the 1970's and 1980's a similar argument was made: wouldn't it be better to keep investments in South Africa and exercise pressure through the companies, than leave and have no leverage. But ultimate divestiture won the day, and Nelson Mandela expressed suport for it.

Steve said...

Your blog here ( is just a little ironic given your comment here:
"There was a lot of opposition to setting up a campus in a place with little protection for free speech and a free press..."

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Steve, you don't understand the principle of free speech, which is not surprising, considering that you're a truther.

No one is suggesting that Monckton should be prevented from speaking anywhere. However, a prestigious lecture series should not be issuing invitations to crackpots. If you don't understand the difference, try reading any book about free speech, such as Smolla.

SLC said...

Re Steve

It is obvious that Mr. Steve doesn't understand what is meant by free speech. Free speech means that, outside of a few exceptions (e.lg. libel), one is free to say anything one wants. Refusal to provide a forum for someone in no way, shape, form, or regard denies his/her free speech.