Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
30 March 2007

Are law lecturers thin skinned?

I see that the claim for damages by Mervyn Dendy, who used to be an Associate Professor at Wits Law School, was rejected by the Supreme Court of Appeal. Dendy had applied for promotion to full Professor with some other of his colleagues and was rather aggrieved at not being successful. The SCA upheld exceptions to the claims made by him on the ground that a reasonable person would not have felt humiliated and insulted in the circumstances.

I suspect the claim had more to do with the politics of affirmative action than with a person feeling personally slighted, but I do not know Mr Dendy, so can’t say for sure.

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