Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Guess who's coming to Furman?

Left: Shamelessly stolen from comicvine.com.


I protested a certain Vice President back in the 80s, when he gave a commencement speech at Ohio State in 1985. Will I get a chance to protest his son at a commencement speech, also? How often in a lifetime does one have the opportunity to protest matching father AND son presidents? This one would definitely go on the resume!

Local peaceniks haven't yet decided if there actually will be a protest. If you know the layout of Furman University, there wouldn't be much public space in which to do so without being run over, and don't think it couldn't happen!

Furman student group slams foes of Bush speech

Letters support, oppose May visit by president

By Dan Hoover • STAFF WRITER • May 20, 2008 • GREENVILLE NEWS

President Bush's planned May 31 commencement address continued to roil the Furman University campus Monday as a conservative group released what it said was a letter signed by 502 students and "Furman community" members critical of faculty objections to the visit.

The "Support Our Seniors" letter by Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow said, "Unfortunately, some professors seem intent on turning what should be a celebration of their students' accomplishments into a forum to air their political differences with President Bush."

It asked Furman to:

• Require faculty members to heed their contractual agreement to attend commencement and not opt out as "conscientious objectors."

• Refuse to post the political views of a "fraction of the faculty and student body on our Web site."

• Pair the CSBT letter with the anti-Bush letter on the Web.

Furman spokesman Vince Moore said the letter was being reviewed Monday night, and he said, "We're going to work with that group to see about posting it on the Web site."

Whether there will be a protest May 31 isn't clear.

Bush was invited after Furman administrators received unanimous approval from the senior class leadership.

But it was the April 10 announcement of the appearance that riled some faculty members, employees and students.

Two weeks ago a "We Object" letter signed by 221 active and retired professors, staff and students, expressed shame over the Bush visit.

"Under ordinary circumstances it would be an honor for Furman University to be visited by the president of the United States. However, these are not ordinary circumstances," they wrote. "We are ashamed of these actions of this administration."

The letter, posted on the Furman Web site, criticized the Bush administration over the Iraq war, classifying prisoners of war as nonmilitary combatants to detain them indefinitely, eroding constitutional guarantees, ignoring evidence of global warming and encouraging reckless spending.

Furman President David Shi said such "dissent is a revered American tradition," reflective of a university's "health and maturity."

Some students reacted sharply, creating what English professor Robin Visel called unexpected "push-back."

Some seniors were chagrined at what they said was the faculty's effort to detract from their accomplishments.

Christina Henderson, a senior, student body president and self-described "big Democrat," said she disagrees with Bush's policies but respects the office. "It is the faculty response that we feel has taken away from" the seniors' milestone.

In a press release accompanying Monday's letter, Nathan Guinn, a CSBT board member and Furman junior, expressed disappointment "that some faculty members continue to put publicity ahead of professionalism. We wish to send an alternative message: It is an honor for the president of the United States to celebrate with Furman the many accomplishments of our seniors."

Guinn said the fact that "nearly five times as many students signed 'Support our Seniors' as signed the faculty-led petition demonstrates the student body's desire to return the focus to the graduating seniors instead of professors' political differences with the president. Clearly, the faculty-led petitioners do not speak for all or even most of the members of the Furman community."

Professors should meet their obligation to attend commencement, he said.

"For people who supposedly revere tolerance and open-mindedness, such an arrogant refusal to even listen to a short congratulatory speech from the president during a day of celebration is an embarrassment to our university," Guinn said.
Any comments from you folks on the position of the faculty? I know I have at least three professors and countless quasi-professors regularly reading my blog. Anybody out there been caught between a similar rock and a hard place?

And check out my congressional candidate Ted Christian's comments at the Greenville News site:
Bush is an incompetent, unapologetic, bloodsoaked warmonger. We should be ashamed we reelected him. He is an embarrassment to this country, and his presence at Furman will be an embarrassment to this community.
You see why I have to elect him?


JoJo said...

Oh you SO have to do it. I wish I could fly out there and protest with you!

annie said...

being the same age, we have experienced nearly identical political pasts. i was dead-set against the reagan era as well. that's where it all went horribly wrong. bush 1 came to downtown santa cruz following the loma prieta quake, and a few of us rode our bikes downtown and booed him loudly, as he toured pacific avenue. i say go get him, sister!

Susan Cook said...

What an idiot. Is it January yet?

CrackerLilo said...

I hope you go, and I hope lots of others do, too.