Houston Chronicle Editorialist on Student Opposition to Institute

This is a well-done piece, arguing that opposition to the Institute, as articulated in yesterday’s Daily Campus, is more compelling than the rejection of the whole package advocated by some within the United Methodist Church. The author also praises the students for realizing that SMU is in a strong bargaining position — something that our administration does not seem to realize.

SMU flap: Kids right, bishops not
Rick Casey
Houston Chronicle
January 26, 2007

Usually when there is an uproar over a library it’s because some fundamentalist Christians are upset about a book a child might chance upon if he can reach high enough.

This time it’s liberal Methodists worried about what the adults may be up to.

A group of Methodist bishops and ministers is protesting plans to establish the presidential library for George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

They believe the “linking of his presidency with a university bearing the Methodist name is utterly inappropriate.”

Simply put, Bush has been too sinful, they say, what with torture and all that.

The kids at SMU, as we shall see below, make a better argument.

Continued here.


One Response to Houston Chronicle Editorialist on Student Opposition to Institute

  1. I think Rick Casey wrote an important and entertaining piece.

    Here’s something he wrote that stood out for me: “…without university affiliation the Ronald Reagan Public Affairs Center component is an insignificant player in current events.” This is true.

    It would only be SMU’s prestige that would lend the proposed Bush Institute legitimacy. If President Bush wants that prestige and legitimacy, he should subject the institute to rigorous academic oversight. In my opinion, SMU should not give away its legitimacy and prestige, and compromise its academic mission, to benefit a partisan center without oversight.

    An even better approach would be to make it a non-partisan institute, like the Carter Center. The Carter Center’s non-partisan approach has made President Carter, in spite of several controversies, one of the most successful and popular ex-Presidents in the history of the United States. And having a non-partisan Bush Center wouldn’t stop Bush from being an advocate on controversial issues (just ask President Carter). I think a non-partisan Bush Center, still with oversight from SMU, would fit much better with a university’s academic mission.

    Or, the proposed Bush Institute could simply be located somewhere else in Dallas. Just because Reagan’s people didn’t follow that model doesn’t mean Bush’s people can’t.

    In any case, I feel Rick Casey’s bottom line was correct: the students who wrote the editorial for the SMU Daily Campus were on the right track.

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