A Discordant Chorus Questions Visions for a Bush Library at Southern Methodist

January 16, 2007

A Discordant Chorus Questions Visions for a Bush Library at Southern Methodist

RALPH BLUMENTHAL
Published: January 14, 2007

HOUSTON, Jan. 13 – With growing faculty unease over plans to enshrine President Bush’s official papers and a policy institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the process of creating the nation’s 13th presidential library is off to a familiar start: discord.

On Thursday, 68 theologians, professors and other faculty members present and past, citing complaints about President Bush’s “poor marks” on civil liberties, the environment, gay rights and the war in Iraq, sent the university president a letter questioning whether visions of the library were consistent with the school’s religious and academic values.

“According to George Bush’s closest associates, the half-billion-dollar endowment will be used by the institute to hire conservative scholars to agree to ‘write papers and books favorable to the president’s policies,’ ” said the letter calling for a campuswide dialogue on the affiliation.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Dubya’s Tower of Babel

January 16, 2007

Bill Berkowitz
January 10, 2007
Dubya’s Tower of Babel

With an expected $500 million from a handful of megadonors, George W. Bush’s ‘truest believers’ plan the mother of all presidential libraries and conservative think tanks

After six years of incompetence and cronyism, a failed war against terrorism, the quagmire that is Iraq, wars against science, the environment, corporate regulation and the public’s right-to-know, a chummy working relationship with the country’s most reactionary conservative evangelical Christians, a politicized faith-based initiative, giveaways to the energy industry, tax relief for the wealthy, a culture of corruption culminating in the forced resignations and imprisonment of some of the administrations key soldiers, and an attack on fundamental democratic rights and values, the Bush Administration is hatching plans to celebrate itself with a $500 million library (the costliest presidential library ever) to be built sometime after the end of Bush’s second term.

Among the donors to Bush 41’s library in Texas were a sheik from the United Arab Emirates, the state of Kuwait, the Bandar bin Sultan family, the Sultanate of Oman, King Hassan II of Morocco, the amir of Qatar, the former Korean prime minister, and China.

In what is being called “their final campaign,” Bush’s “truest believers” are aiming to raise a half-billion dollars for the mother of all presidential libraries. The library and an attached think tank — which will pay for conservative research — is being earmarked for the Dallas, Texas campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU), where First Lady Laura Bush is an alumna and trustee.

Inside Higher Ed recently pointed out that SMU, which had been competing for the library with Baylor University and the University of Dallas, appears to have cleared the final hurdle to getting the project when the university “won a court fight over its right to demolish a condo complex the university had purchased, in part to have land for the Bush project.”

That was before university faculty, administration, and staff questioned the ideological underpinnings of the project.

Read the rest here.


SMU Faculty Members Oppose Bush Library

January 16, 2007

Jan 12, 9:12 PM EST
SMU Faculty Members Oppose Bush Library
By ANGELA K. BROWN

Associated Press WriterDALLAS (AP) — Negotiations to build George W. Bush’s presidential library at Southern Methodist University have divided the campus, pitting the administration and some alumni against liberal-leaning faculty members who say the project would be an embarrassment to the school.Some professors have complained that the combined library, museum and think tank would celebrate a presidency that unnecessarily took the country into a war.

The fear is that the library “will continue to espouse the philosophy and practice of the Bush administration, which has seriously divided our nation and has brought the ire of other countries,” said William McElvaney, a retired professor at SMU’s theology school and co-author a November opinion piece in the campus newspaper titled “The George W. Bush Library: Asset or Albatross?”

[…]

McElvaney warned that not only could the library hurt SMU’s reputation, it could also become a target for terrorists or others who want to strike back at Bush, McElvaney said.

“Dallas is already known as the city in which President Kennedy was assassinated, so does Dallas want a Bush library that could become a prime terrorist target?” McElvaney asked.