Students of academic research and social justice movements have been pushing for microsoft to provide “academic” access to research projects and courses since the 1990s.
In fact, as many as 100,000 students of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley, have petitioned the university to be included in the curriculum and to be allowed to enroll in courses.
But despite their efforts, the company has not yet complied with the demand and, according to the petitioners, it is the “academia” of the students and their professors that has not been respected.
The petitioners argue that microsoft has been doing research projects in a way that is “properly academic” and “consistent with academic freedom”, but that this “academics” work is being hindered by microsoft’s “political bias” towards the rightwing politics of its CEO.
In an interview to the BBC, Dr Kalyan Kulkarni, the petitioner, said: “Microsoft has created a situation where we are fighting for academic freedom.
We have to fight for the right to work in this space.”
He continued: “We are fighting because our students are being forced to participate in courses that have political leanings and to have political affiliations.
This has been happening for over a decade.”
Microsoft is doing research, but they are also doing work on social justice issues.
They are also making political statements that are not aligned with what we have been fighting for.
“The petition, which was launched on Facebook, has garnered more than 5,000 signatures.
The petitioners say that “microsoft has not made the necessary changes” to address the “political biases” that they have been complaining about for years.
Dr Kulkarki said that in the past few years, “the culture of microsimulation, the social justice and political agenda has shifted and the situation has changed for us.”
According to the petitions, students have been subjected to the “oppressive social attitudes” and the “racist and anti-Semitic content” of some microsimulations.
The microsimulator controversy started in 2012, when a petition demanding that the University Board stop the use of the Microsoft Office suite of applications by students on campus became so popular that it led to a debate about the merits of such “accelerated” applications, including the Microsoft Lync. “
We need to stop microsimulating politics in the future,” he added.
The microsimulator controversy started in 2012, when a petition demanding that the University Board stop the use of the Microsoft Office suite of applications by students on campus became so popular that it led to a debate about the merits of such “accelerated” applications, including the Microsoft Lync.
After a similar controversy over the use and the impact of social media platforms, a similar petition by students of UC Berkeley in 2016 led to the suspension of a microsimulate project that was used by a small group of students in the Berkeley library.
The students petition to the UC Board of Regents also led to an examination of microgame and online games that could be used for social justice projects.
In January 2017, the university suspended the use by students in two of the three courses the petition students were interested in.
Dr Kulkani added: “If we can’t have these games for the social and political purposes that we want, then the university should not have them.”