SMU Newspaper Summarizes Current Debate, Media Coverage

Most of us at SMU are aware of how much our school is in the spotlight these days. Several senior colleagues have told me that to their knowledge SMU has never been the subject of this kind of national attention. Many think that we are benefitting tremendously from it, in large part because of the vigorous debate about the library and institute. Perhaps we’ve already raised our profile because of becoming the finalist for the library and institute — and because there have been so many doubts and concerns raised.

Bush library debate focuses spotlight on SMU
Mark Norris
SMU Daily Campus
January 30, 2007

Three faculty meetings, two petitions and numerous editorials later, the drama that is the Bush Library complex continues to gain a wider audience in the United States and worldwide.

The debate has shone a bright, and sometimes harsh, spotlight on the Hilltop.

Media inquiries about the Bush Library have flooded SMU’s News and Communications office. According to its media monitoring service, 329 articles and television segments have been done on SMU’s bid for the complex since the Dec. 21 announcement that the school was entering into exclusive negotiations with the library committee.

Last week, ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” had a story on the debate in addition to other coverage on CNN and MSNBC. The story has received column space in the Washington Post and the New York Times, both of which have sent reporters to cover the faculty meetings along with reporters from The Associated Press and the Dallas Morning News.

The story has gone international in the past week with articles in the United Kingdom’s The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph of London and a German newspaper. The debate was also featured on “Canada A.M.,” that country’s equivalent of “Good Morning America.”

Continued here.

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One Response to SMU Newspaper Summarizes Current Debate, Media Coverage

  1. Maarja Krusten says:

    I just submitted some comments to the Daily Campus on its article. I don’t know if they will be posted. At any rate, I also am cross posting them here.

    “As an off campus observer, I found this a very interesting summary. I appreciate the ability to stay informed on these issues. I don’t know much about SMU. But I did once work for the National Archives, which administers and staffs the Presidential Libraries. I worked with President Richard Nixon’s White House tapes and documents.

    You mention, “An executive order signed by Bush early in his first term makes it easier for presidents to classify documents.” You’re right in that some editorials have mentioned Executive Order 13233 of 2001 and the rights over records that it describes for Presidents and their families. But the phrase to describe what is involved would be “presidents to claim
    privilege.” That’s because the term “classify” has a specific meaning for archivists. It is described in a different executive order. This all actually is defined in publicly available documents.

    As I just mentioned, there is an order — different from the one you mentioned — that covers classification:

    http://www.archives.gov/isoo/policy-documents/eo-12958-amendment.html

    Notice that there is no mention of family. A President’s son or daughter (such as Chelsea Clinton or Barbara or Jenna Bush) usually would not have held government office enabling them to “classify” documents. Even if they once did have classification authority, the ability to classify documents doesn’t pass on to family members from an official. That’s because it attaches to a government function, not to a person.

    The best way to look at at is this way. Say you were employed in an administrative capacity at SMU. If you resigned to take a new job elsewhere, or by some misfortune, died while working at SMU, any authority you previously had vested in you would not pass on to your
    family members. They wouldn’t have an expectation that they could come in to your former office and make determinations about highly sensitive documents with which you once might have worked.

    But the order you mentioned in your article does mention family. If you read it, you can see that there are constitutional issues involved in the order. This executive order is the subject of an ongoing court case. To see what President Bush’s 2001 order says, look at

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011101-12.html

    Again, claiming privilege and having classification authority are addressed in two different executive orders, one of which involves a President’s family, the other of which does not.

    (Submitted from home on January 31 at 7:25 a.m. eastern time)”

    posting to Bushlibraryblog submitted at 7:30 a.m. from home

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