SMU and Bush Library: In Depth

January 19, 2007

SMU and Bush Library: In Depth
Daily Kos
Fri Jan 19, 2007

Opposition to Southern Methodist University accepting the proposal to be the site of the Bush Presidential Library grows but the differing factions have very different reasons for their opposition.

Continued here.


The truth as I see it: Executive Order

January 19, 2007

Executive Order
Austin Rucker
SMU Daily Campus

Hell Yeah! It’s time to learn. President George W. Bush, or Jorge, to you Hispanic voters, has decided to drop a fat pile of books on us and let us build the house to put them in. So with this power comes responsibility. Let’s reflect for a minute what it means to be a Library, and how we might craft such a building to honor our glorious leader. For the fatherland.

Out of respect, we need to include the kind of material our shepherd would use himself. Now I’m not suggesting we make it a children’s library, but at the same time you can’t go building libraries without making it a kind of homage to the namesake. In that vein, I have taken it upon myself to suggest a few things that will characterize this house of knowledge as the stomping grounds of the historical juggernaut it is named after.

For one, let’s make some cuts to the history section. Who cares? Most of that crap went down in the past and therefore won’t happen again. Last thing we need is some jerk with a degree explaining what went down six hundred years ago. I mean, come on, we remember the important stuff, and everything else, right? Well, the people who did that stuff are long dead, so let’s just cut it out. We need to focus on the future and what’s important.

Let’s get a section on warfare and nation building. Get some John Keegan and Peter Paret and maybe 20,000 copies of “The Forgotten Soldier” so everyone can understand the kind of weight our president sleeps under every night.

Continued here.

Focusing the discussion on the Bush Institute, NOT the Library

January 19, 2007

Focusing the discussion on the Bush Institute, NOT the Library
Janis Bergman, David A. Freidel, and Valerie A. Karras
SMU Daily Campus

On Dec. 21, SMU President R. Gerald Turner informed the university community that the George W. Bush Presidential Library Search Committee had chosen to enter into exclusive negotiations with SMU. On Jan. 5, President Turner notified the university community that the project now included a proposal for a Bush Institute, independent of SMU and answerable only to the Bush Foundation (the funding arm for the library).

Faculty Senate President Rhonda Blair convoked a special faculty meeting Jan. 9 to discuss the proposal. A list of questions and concerns was prepared, which President Turner addressed on Jan. 17 at the spring general faculty meeting. His remarks have not allayed some of these concerns.

Much of the SMU community and the broader public have been misled by publicity suggesting faculty opposition to SMU’s hosting the future George W. Bush Presidential Library. What is true is that many faculty members are concerned about the Bush Foundation’s proposal for an autonomous, ideologically-driven policy institute.

According to President Turner’s letter of January 5: “Some presidential libraries are associated with academic schools created in conjunction with each library � Instead of a new school at SMU, under discussion is the establishment of a George W. Bush Institute. Although some comparisons have been made between this entity and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a key difference would be that the Hoover Institution reports to Stanford University, while the proposed Bush Institute would report to the Bush Foundation.”

The professors signed below represent a diverse group of faculty who strongly feel the need for a broader campus discussion of the issues at the heart of the proposal for an independent Bush Institute. We stand for the principles of academic freedom and intellectual integrity central to any university. President Turner insists that these principles will be preserved if we accept the current proposal. We believe they will be preserved only if the proposed Bush Institute is accountable to our president, trustees and faculty, as is the case with all other institutes on our campus.

Continued here.

Today’s Dallas Morning News

January 19, 2007

Two very interesting stories, one about the Methodist petition against the library that is not only informative, but also hilarious (somebody promises to join the Methodist Church if the library is scuttled). The second is a profile of Professor Bill McElvaney that makes it clear how unpredictable the lines of debate on campus are. Who would think that the secular, left-leaning chair of the history department would emerge as a leading supporter of the library-museum-institute, and that the church-going son of a wealthy Dallas family would be one of its leading critics?

Methodist faction fighting Bush library at SMU,” Dallas Morning News, January 19, 2007

Minister closely linked to SMU opposes war, library,” Dallas Morning News, January 19, 2007