Another group rears its head in SMU’s Bush library bid
Dallas Business Journal
January 25, 2007
Another faith-based group has launched a campaign to stop the George W. Bush Presidential Library from being built at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Hope for Peace & Justice, a faith-based social justice organization based in Dallas, says it is concerned about the reputation of Dallas and the safety of local residents if the library and proposed think tank are built at SMU, as the “Bush Library will no doubt be a terrorist target,”said the Rev. Michael Piazza, president of Hope for Peace & Justice.
In their petition, the group also cites increased traffic along U.S. 75 and the Mockingbird Lane area, where SMU is located, and concerns about the infrastructure needed to support the extra traffic, as well as security concerns stemming from the increased number of visitors.
President “Clinton’s library boasted 750,000 visitors last year. Imagine 750,000 people clogging Mockingbird Lane, 75 and the rest of Park Cities’ streets,” the group says in a statement on its Web site.
Piazza sent letters to the Dallas, Highland Park and University Park mayors and city councilors asking them to pass resolutions against the library.
“Dallas has worked for decades to escape the reputation as the ‘City that killed Kennedy,'” said Rev. Piazza. “We do not need to return to that right- wing reputation. Playing host to Mr. Bush’s well-funded, neo-conservative think-tank will taint our reputation indelibly. Residents need to guard their reputation and say, ‘No thank you Mr. President.'”
An SMU representative wasn’t immediately available for comment Thursday.
SMU, a private university in Dallas with about 11,000 students, learned last month that it was the apparent sole finalist for the presidential library. Baylor University in Waco and the University of Dallas in Irving also were bidding for the library. The University of Dallas on Monday withdrew its bid for the Bush library.
Last week, a group of Methodist ministers launched an online petition urging SMU’s board of trustees to reject the $500 million library. SMU faculty members also have voiced concerns about affiliating the university with the Bush library and think tank.
SMU’s board, which contains three seats held by Methodist bishops and also has two other board members that are clergy, has supported building the university’s pursuit of the library every step of the way, Brad Cheves, SMU’s vice president for external affairs and development, told the Dallas Business Journal last week.