The reaction from the University of PEI reminds me of an episode at the public debate held by the CBC on the bootlegger issue several years ago: a local restaurant owner stood and spoke about all the “negative publicity” the issue was creating for the city in the national media. Say what you will about bootlegging, the publicity it gave Charlottetown was net positive; not only because “any publicity is good publicity,” but also because it telegraphed to the world that Charlottetown is, well, unique.
David Weale’s actions, taken, he says, to focus attention on large class sizes, are, if anything, a net positive for UPEI too: they telegraph to the world that professors at the institution care about teaching so much that they’ll go to great lengths — crazy, outlandish lengths — to point out the extent of the problem.
If the University was smart — and could muster a sense of humour — it could have effectively handled this situation by admitting that David’s concerns are real, laughing off “the 70% deal” as a publicity stunt, and promising to work to address the situation. As it is, the administration comes across as a group of dour prigs, obsessed with an artificial “excellence” construct that is appealing only to passionless technocrats.