Faculty Columnist Offers Sardonic Take on Bush Institute

March 28, 2007

This from Spanish Prof. George Henson’s regular column in the Daily Campus. It starts off with a pithy description of faculty back and forth about the Institute, and then a sardonic and (to me) entertaining prophecy about the potential roster of fellows. Henson observes that “the government will probably want to open a federal prison nearby so fellows can rotate weekends while serving their sentences for corruption, perjury, obstruction of justice, and treason.” Fun, fun fun!

It’s the Institute, Stupid
George Henson
SMU Daily Campus
March 28, 2007

There is a contentious back-and-forth going on via e-mail among some SMU faculty regarding the Bush Institute.

The majority of faculty members, if not all, have finally accepted the Library as a fait accompli. Indeed, for the majority of faculty, the library is no longer the primary concern. To paraphrase James Carville, it’s the institute, stupid.

Not so much the institute as the structure of the institute. As it stands, SMU will have zero control over Bush’s eponymously oxymoronic think tank.

Concerns ranging from the institute’s policy focus (preemptive war, denying global warming, expansion of executive powers, creation of an imperial presidency, privation of civil liberties, torture) to who will hold fellowships have many faculty rightfully concerned.

More important, the prospect that departments will be required to accept co-appointments of Institute fellows who, by virtue of their appointment to the institute, will be exempt from the normal departmental hiring practices.

continued here