From the Dallas Observer: W. and Us

February 8, 2007

Jim Schutze is the editor and columnist of Dallas’ main “alternative” weekly. In general I find his columns alternatively hilarious, maddening, insightful, and arrogant. This one is superb — he has a real feel for how universities work, and for the gravity of the issues surrounding the Bush Institute. His conclusion that the Bush Institute may become “the emblem of SMU and of this city,” and his reasons why this may be deeply problematic, are terrifically well-put.

W. and Us
Jim Schutze
Dallas Observer
February 8, 2007

If we had the equivalent of a national sport just for Dallas, it would be “Tip-toe ‘Round the Elephant.” I do get why everybody debating the Bush library at SMU does it. The people against the library don’t want to get drawn off their base into an argument they can’t win. The people in favor of the library think the elephant is either a planter or a very large suitcase.

But it’s an elephant. The Iraq war.

Continued here.


Heavy Coverage of Senate Meeting, Other Issues

February 8, 2007

Today’s Daily Campus carried the most extensive coverage of yesterday’s faculty Senate meeting. A geology professor weighed in on the matter, urging acceptance of the Library and Institute, citing the precedent of the Southwestern Research Center, which SMU turned down in the early 1960s and which eventually became the University of Texas at Dallas. (SMU Historian and English professor Marsh Terry said yesterday in a talk that he had no recollection of faculty opposition to the Research Center on political grounds). The Daily Campus also carried a statement by the members of my department about Presidential papers and Executive Order 13233, which I will post later in its entirety.

The external press showed some interest as well. An AP report gave a short summary and background. The New York Times, whose coverage for some strange reason SMU’s administration and some faculty Senators seem to deeply despise, carried a brief summary. The Dallas Morning News summarized the discussion.

Nobody has done the sleuthing that a colleague of mine did, which establishes a precedent for the kind of referendum or poll for which the facuty petition called. “In February 1999 the Student Senate held a student referendum on the issue of adding the term sexual orientation to SMU’s nondiscrimination statement,” reported the May 17, 1999 SMU Forum. “When the referendum passed, the SMU administration outlined issues to be addressed in considering such a change, and these issues were presented to the Board of Trustees at its March 1999 meeting.” Apparently student leaders thought it worthwhile to know where the student body as a whole stood on an important issue. I remain hopeful that the Faculty Senate will decide that it is appropriate to poll the faculty in some comprehensive fashion, on the advisability of the Institute as well as other issues.