Individual political views shouldn’t influence Library

Individual political views shouldn’t influence Library
Brandon Brown
SMU Daily Campus

In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of discussion among SMU faculty members about the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Institute.

We believe that local and national media coverage of this discussion has frequently exaggerated the extent and intensity of faculty opposition to the Library.

In the case of the New York Times, remarks at a closed faculty meeting were quoted without appropriate context (or permission). As a result, important misunderstandings may have arisen about individual or collective faculty views.

As the chairs of two departments that will be vitally engaged in the scholarship to emerge from the Bush Library, we wish to make our views quite clear.

There are three elements to the proposal currently being discussed. First, and most important, is the George W. Bush Presidential Library, which would be administered by the National Archives and Records Administration in accordance with federal statutes, regulations and legal agreements. It is their responsibility to make documentary materials accessible to scholars and journalists fairly, impartially and as quickly as is practicable.

The second is an associated museum that memorializes presidents through public programs and exhibits.

The third is the Bush Institute that would exist independently from the University and report to the Bush Foundation. This Institute would presumably have resident and visiting research fellows to conduct its public policy research programs.

Some faculty voices have been raised in opposition to the Library on the grounds that the Bush administration has pursued policies at home and abroad with which they disagree. Whether one is a supporter or opponent of President Bush, we believe that individual political views should not be linked to the Bush Library.

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