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Abstract

ABSTRACT: The university campus has continually been a center for political performance and student activism; however, this article examines they ways in which universities subvert and undermine student activism. Analyzing ten public US universities’ student code of conducts and policies, I determined four common approaches universities use: Defending and limiting free speech; naming “disruptive behavior”; regulating use of time and space; and use of police forces. These four approaches are analyzed through the lens of Michel Foucault’s theory of disciplinary power to argue that these approaches are actually mechanisms for disciplinary control. I also draw upon liberal democracy theory’s representation of the concomitance of public space and education to explain that student protest is a fundamental pillar upholding democratic principles. When these principles are confronted with mechanism of disciplinary control, democracy is threatened. Not only do these mechanisms reconstitute the docility of students (removing students from participating in an essential form of democracy like protest), they also undermine democracy by preventing the pursuit for the determinants upon which democracy is structured. Keywords: University, student activism, code of conduct, disciplinary power, democracy

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