Monday, October 20, 2008

Addendum to previous post

Here is the email I sent Chancellor Perlman:

Chancellor Perlman:

Hello. I hope all is well and your semester is going well.

As a second-year PhD student in the English Department, I wanted to send you an email to let you know that, while I appreciate the message you sent out to students of the university this morning that explains the cancellation of William Ayers' visit, I find the actions taken by UNL to be quite discouraging.

To my mind, the university should be a space in which all points-of-views, etc. can be thoroughly expressed and intelligently discussed, regardless of public sentiment. When outside opinion supersedes academic integrity, it reflects poorly on the institution's ability to adequately perform it duties, vis-a-vis the student population, as well as the broader intellectual community.

While, no doubt, the concerns you stated in your email were well founded, I can't help but think there was a better solution that could preserve the academic and intellectual reputation of this university. What I find most troubling is your belief that: "I am convinced this was an unusual circumstance, one unlikely to repeat itself." If certain groups that expressed "outrage" over Ayers' purposed appearance realize that their rhetoric and actions succeeded in forcing a cancellation of the event, it most certainly will embolden them to pursue similar tactics in the future. I am afraid the actions taken by the university's decision-makers have only strengthen the determination of these "few individuals."

Nonetheless, I thank you for your time and hope you will consideration this point-of-view when future situations such as the aforementioned arise.

Joshua Ware


Johnny Cakes said...

I find your retort to be most satisfactory. I also find it somewhat pitifully humorous that a public university--which until the 1990s were still incubators for social movement(s)--kowtows to the community 'threats'. (Incidentally, these sort of 'threats' are not any different from the same 'threats' of which said folks accuse other races and denominations, using the guise of 'patriotism'.) Hmmm, I recall some saying about a pot and a kettle.

The Print Shop said...

I'm glad you said something.