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Archive for Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Opinion: Liberals must show tolerance

June 17, 2014

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Based on conversations with 12 university and college presidents, a continuation of liberal intolerance on campus appears likely in the 2014-2015 school year.

Such unfortunate acts were carried out last spring at Brandeis, Haverford, Rutgers and Smith. In each case, liberals silenced invited guests to commencements because they found them to be politically objectionable.

One such invitee was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, now a distinguished professor at Stanford University. While one may or may not agree with her politics, her integrity and commitment to public service are unquestioned.

Those leaders we contacted fear that continuance of such activities will undermine the fundamentals of academic freedom, a cornerstone of academia. And the impact will be a lessening in the fundamental belief in the importance of colleges and universities everywhere, further chipping away at their reputations for intellectual freedom, open discourse and unbiased research.

Eleven of the 12 admitted to being distressed by seeing college commencement speakers withdraw, or have invitations rescinded, after small numbers of outspoken students and faculty members objected. The 12th was irate that senior faculty members were involved in these actions since they had enjoyed the fruits of academic freedom. He also said too many under graduates are too easily led and swayed.

Michael Bloomberg, businessman and former mayor of New York City, at this spring’s commencement speech at Harvard, said that “As a former chairman of Johns Hopkins, I believe a university’s obligation is not to teach students what to think, but to teach students how to think.”

This requires respectfully listening to all sides — left, right and in between — and weighing arguments without prejudging them. Without this, higher education will produce minds unable to make their own decisions, failing both the students and society, and eventually eroding public support.

Hearing differing views is part of the learning process at all levels of higher education. So said Bill Bowen, the former president of Princeton University. He blasted students at Haverford College who campaigned against Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley.

More than 40 students and three professors protested Birgeneau’s invitation, objecting to his handling of a 2011 incident at Berkeley. Bowen said the students were “immature” and “arrogant.” His remarks drew a standing ovation.

The surveyed leaders have every intention of standing against intolerance and they will reinforce time-tested academic freedom and values.

They are confident that their governing boards will support them. Working with them and duly constituted campus committees to select speakers, they will not be bullied by a few and ignore the rights of the majority.

The college heads said students are restive today because of a lack of good jobs and mounting debt. Still the great majority believes in the long-term value of a college degree and the campus experience of intellectual freedom.

As the former mayor of New York City also said:“Scientific skepticism is healthy. But there is a world of difference between scientific skepticism that seeks out more evidence and ideological stubbornness that shuts it out.”

What we believe is that presidents, trustees and others in higher education community will stand firm on the time-honored values of academic freedom. But we can also anticipate that a small minority of ill-mannered faculty and students will continue with loud voices that will make their peers in the majority uneasy. The media will delight in it, overstating its significance on cable news and in student publications.

In no way do we envy the college presidents of 2015, but we do have confidence in higher education and their long-held value systems, ones that are certain to continue to be tested in the future. Too often superficiality and intolerance runs deep but we look forward to a time when the commitment to intellectual freedom runs even deeper.

— Gene Budig is former chancellor of Kansas University. Alan Heaps is a former vice president of the College Board in New York City.

Comments

2 months ago

This should apply to all of us and not just to the university.We should all make an attempt to think about all aspects of an idea or situation so that we are able to form a conclusion that is not based on the emotion of the moment or an urban myth that we have heard over and over until we simply accept it.

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Kevin Elliott 2 months ago

If this was honestly meant as a call to values of respect, it would have included examples of both sides, liberal and conservatives. It did not.

i agreed clinton should have been impeached for telling a lie to congress, but i think Bush should have been as well.

I think ann coulter is a worthless race baiting piece of filth. I think the same of al sharpton.

I am sick and tired of false moral outrage that only applies to one side but not the other.

For that reason i call this piece of bullhocky exactly that.

I actually agree with the moral point, but since they lied by implying it is uniquely a liberal issue, i call them liars and not worthy of respect.

If you can not make a point without being dishonest, you are pointless.

If your morals and values are not applied the same to yourself as to your opponents, you have no true values.

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Exactly. They endorse Kansas legislators wanting to fire a professor for being angry with the NRA on a social medium that would only be read by his followers. How is that "tolerant". Conservative students at universities have a right to protest people coming to the universities to speak, but maybe they should just allow whoever, then try and engage these people in debate. But this wasn't really a debate, was it. It was a graduation, and in reality, who remembers who spoke at their college graduation. I can't. I just wanted to get it done and celebrate.

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Richard Heckler 2 months ago

Stop inviting politicians that have been involved in the following. These speakers don't come for free BTW……

Who killed jobs,retirement plans, medcial insurance and forced homeowners into foreclosure?

--- Why does the GOP Deliberately crash the USA economy? at will? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/09/did-republicans-deliberately-crash-us-economy

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT – Bailing Out Big banks.
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

--- http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures#Voter

--- This GOP Entitlement = Killing Public Education http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-van-roekel/exposing-alecs-agenda-to-_b_3223651.html

--- United States of ALEC http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

--- The consulting firm Aegis Strategic plans to handpick local, state, and federal candidates who share the Koch Political Empire Agenda politics. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/koch-brothers-candidate-training-recruiting-aegis-strategic

Then come these USA job killing ventures for big profit. 1. Mergers 2. Hostile Takeovers 3. Leveraged Buyouts

--- http://www.democracynow.org/2012/10/18/greg_palast_mitt_romneys_bailout_bonanza

--- Free Trade Agreements

---- Lied to the nation about Iraq

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Richard Heckler 2 months ago

Politicians are not to be worshipped….

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Kevin Elliott 2 months ago

Richard, as much as i agree with your points, i wish to God there was some way to block your posts,

You fail to educate, you fail to inform because you post too much, are often far off topic and make your posts worthless because it becomes span.

copy and paste and endless links are poor ways to get people to listen to you.

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Elizabeth Newman 2 months ago

Kevin...personally I learn a LOT from Richard...he enables me to get the info all in one post that he can find on the topic that gets his view point across. And It's usually a lotta info. I appreciate his effort. I also agree with him about 90% of the time...what about you??

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Richard quite often gives us posts to back up his opinions and doesn't always just mimic the days "talking points". If you do not want to go to the trouble of doing to his links, then that's you. Personally I have used them to argue with some of my conservative relatives. They just hate evidence.

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MerriAnnie Smith 2 months ago

Kevin, you're asking Richard to lie by omission. And you're saying he should do that because his post bother YOU.

There are many others here who are not bothered by Richard's posts and wish he posted more often.

Your post is your personal feelings. But just so you realize, you're not speaking for all of us.

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Kevin Elliott 2 months ago

I ask him to lie by omission? I have to laugh at that statement. I ask he be more concise and topical and i stand by that, your absurd hyperbole aside.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

I laugh at these former educator's one sided views of tolerance. Conservatives are afraid of the open pursuit of thinking and want the same ideals repeated ad ad nauseum. Does George Will or Charles Krauthammer say anything new? no. They repeat negative attacks constantly. When I go after people as I've done in the past I use historical examples to show the precedents of wrong in said person's ways or beliefs. I do this because I had an open mind and learned about said history in a comparative way. When there are educators who believe in empirical facts who are openly invited to a Bob Jones or Liberty University to speak then there will be a "Fair and Balanced (LAUGH)" educational environment. That doesn't happen though does it? There's a reason that Anne Coulter was booed at the Lied Center some years ago. I should know. I used my constitutionally protected right to protest her as did a number of other people because I felt there was no place for her insult based nature at the University of Kansas. I also went as a mixed race White/Native American person to hear the Reverend Al Sharpton speak in a small room at the K State Union in Manhattan, KS, a number of years ago. I grew up in a barely post racial Louisiana and Mississippi in the 1970's and I saw the struggle of civil rights as a small child firsthand so I see him differently than most people who have no historical concept of the civil rights and dismiss him as a publicity chaser. Conservatives are mad in general because they can't get young students to repeat nominative ideas and beliefs over and over until repeated facts occur as they did before the 1960's. They're mad because the 1960's in their eyes destroyed the myth of American exceptionalism and made people conscious of others in their environment and caused empathy which Conservatives perceive as weak. This bashing of the poor and weak and immigrant happens to this day and is part of the GOP platform. If I'm smart enough to think for myself with my three and a half years of college education it's because no one succeeded in pushing the concept of accepting ideas without question as places like Liberty and Bob Jones expect of their students.

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Elizabeth Newman 2 months ago

They'd be laughed off of campus...

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Julius Nolan 2 months ago

And of course no conservative group has ever protested any speaker.

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James Howlette 2 months ago

An oddly specific request when he was quite on topic by pointing out that liberals are not the only ones to protest speakers for their views. Why don't you counter it by naming a time when a liberal speaker was ever invited to speak at the commencement of a conservative university.

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MerriAnnie Smith 2 months ago

It's not a university but a high school in Kansas where many of the parents of students are strongly conservative, an the situation was when Mrs. Obama was asked to speak in May. She was protested strongly. She was gracious about it and agreed to speak a different day from graduation day. She didn't refuse to go. She didn't pout. She was very gracious and went anyway and she was a big hit with the non-conservative crowd. The conservatives boycotted her speech after inspiring a lot of hate speech and protests to force the school to cancel their invitation to speak at graduation.

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James Howlette 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The original commenter was removed.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

gee I thought US AG Eric Holder was supposed to speak in OKC a couple of months ago. I guess the innocent victim conservatives and their protesting had nothing to do with the cancellation of that speaking event. 1000 likes (sarcasm).

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

Naw, the resident crazies in Oklahoma ran him off preemptively. I read NEWSOK daily for OKC Thunder updates and if you don't believe me go to that website and read how publically crazy these people are. Read either this paper of the Tulsa World online and you will see how little tolerance your "VICTIMS???" of liberal bias have (laugh). I have classmates whom I attended high school with in McLouth 25 years ago who now live in Norman. They don't venture much outside of Norman because like Lawrence is in Kansas the rest of that state is another dimension that doesn't involve reality or facts. I think Condi Rice should be protested honestly. She was a part of a concerted effort to mislead a country into war and you all went as far as to invoke patriotism against the people like me that knew the history of the Middle East and knew the WMD's were a lie and openly questioned the neocon smokescreen that is lost in the fog of amnesia that conservatives live in now. Great Britain's footprint was all over the Middle East and in the Balfour Agreement. David Lloyd George even played Lawrence of Arabia and his allies which left a bitter taste in their mouths against the British Empire and the US after WW I. When Iran tried to nationalize their oil refineries the CIA made sure this didn't happen and installed a corrupt pro west Shah that made the Iranians so mad that the Ayatollah Khomeini came into power during the hostage crisis that I remember as a nine and ten year old. I hear so much conservative nonsense about the Middle East without any mention of US meddling that caused the current state of western resentment and distrust. Maybe if conservatives believed in facts and admitted the consequences of imperialism which come from education...not denial....they would be invited to speak more and protested less. You can't create Koch funded think tanks to bury the facts you don't like. These think tanks and their benefactors are mad because facts get in the way of their nonsense and smart independent college students don't buy it. The writers of this editorial think there's a battle for the hearts and minds of college students and when they can't scare educators into total silence like the whole Guff issue they complain when grown adults think independently and call nonsense with a conscience about people like Condi Rice on their campus. These writers must really detest independent collegiate thinkers.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

no you don't understand that the people in the opposite universe known as conservative Oklahoma took credit for forcing Mr. Holder not to appear. I read Oklahoma newspapers online and know this to be true. Thanks for twisting my words and still being in denial. goodnight.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

OKLAHOMA CITY - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder canceled a speech in Oklahoma City Thursday amid a planned protest surrounding his visit. Holder called off his remarks at the police academy graduation just a few hours before the ceremony began in downtown Oklahoma City.

There were still protesters on the streets, but the hundreds of people expected did not show. The roughly 20 people who protested believe they made an impact.

"[Holder] is afraid to face the people of Oklahoma City," protest organizer Bob Dani said.

Throughout the morning, conservative politics and free speech were on display. Inside the church where the graduation took place, city officials honored 42 new officers. Federal Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange was Holder's backup speaker. She took the opportunity to not only offer words of wisdom

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

keep changing the goal line as you're proven wrong. even the big time conservatives do this.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

like a true republican you ignore the holder evidence right in front of you.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

oh yeah.....Fred Phelps and his wonderful Conservative family stopped Mrs. Maya Angelou from reading her poetry at Emporia State University when my brother attended that school. Fred was a trusted conservative right?

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Ned Wolfsosoon 2 months ago

Fred Phelps was a Democrat, so this argument doesn't fly.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

Fred Phelps was a Dixiecrat and very manipulative of the political system as he was of people in general. He was more in line with the social conservatives even though I admit he probably did it for the satisfaction of making people's skin crawl. He was closer to the Conservatives though.

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Lane Signal 2 months ago

Mr. Budig, I think you have missed the mark here. Free speech, and the free exchange of ideas are important, but protest is often the only means by which that happens. And commencement speeches are not meant just to be forums for the exercise of free speech. When a university asks a person to speak at a commencement, there is an implication that their views are important and have some validity. So, often, a protest is the only way students and faculty can raise awareness that the views of the speaker may not be shared by the entire university. Characterizing this as "liberal intolerance" is not appropriate. The only thing these people are intolerant of is not being allowed a voice.

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Scott Burkhart 2 months ago

@ Lane - I think Dr. Budig's points are spot on. Silencing someone, regardless of the venue, is an affront to the first amendment of the Constitution. The true exercise of free speech is allowing someone, who's point of view would make your blood boil, the ability to voice that point of view without interruption. THAT is tolerance.

@ Mike Ford - Two weak examples over a span of how many years, is the best you can do? Conservatives can cite multiple, just this spring alone. Sip your KoolAid and get back to us when you arrive in Realville.

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Lane Signal 2 months ago

Scott, I'm not saying protesters have a right to "silence" anyone. I think they have a right to make their own voices heard. Protesting a choice for commencement speaker is not the same as silencing them. Commencement speakers should have the backbone to honor their invitations even if they may face protests and administrators should have the backbone to move forward with a choice even if there are objections. That is unless the speaker or the administration are shamed into changing their minds based on the validity of the protests. I don't think protesters should be allowed to shut down any kind of speech, but commencement speakers, by implication, reflect on the character of the school that invites them. Protesters should feel free to express their views if they feel a choice made by the school administration reflects badly on their school. But, if anyone is invited to a school to debate a position, no matter how extreme, I would argue that protest of their attendance is misguided.

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Jim Slade 2 months ago

Maybe if the conservatives would back away from their stances on denying healthcare for millions, denigrating the working poor as leeches, and sending us into unjust wars then I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be protested to the point of cancelling.

But they aren't backing away from those stances, and so those voices who oppose their ugly views stand up to them.

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Kevin Elliott 2 months ago

Cindy Shehan, Bill Ayers, Eric Holder, Maya Angalou, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, any number of pro choice speakers and many others have been protested and pushed out at dozens of educational institutions all across this country.

I am sick and tired of the usual habitual liars who offer no integrity, no honesty, no morals and pretend this is a one sided argument.

I agree this is a problem but i am angry the people without ethics, such as Mr Graham and Mr Burkhart cheapen the debate with immoral dishonesty. If they, or former Chancellor Budig honestly considered this a problem, they would call it out whenever it happens, not only when those they consider opposition does it.

In fact, if they had the slightest honor and honestly considered this an ethical dilemma, they would want to hold themselves to a higher standard instead of lie and pretend it does not exist within their ranks despite all reality.

I am just no longer tolerating dishonest false moral outrage, if you do not want to be called liars, do not lie. If you want a call for ethics or morality but exempt yourself, blow it out your behind.

And i call out Jim Slade for justifying it as well. I have no problem with protests from either side, but i do lament the loss of dialogue.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

why call out Jim Slade at all....he's being honest and they won't quit.

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Chris Scafe 2 months ago

Robert Frost said, “A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.” That quote describes a high degree of tolerance.

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MerriAnnie Smith 2 months ago

Nobody silenced Condoleeza. She chose not to go where her behavior and choices that hurt and even killed many people might be challenged. She can't take the heat.

Notice that Mrs. Obama didn't let protestors keep her from coming to Topeka in May.

Mrs. Obama has not done anything that caused thousands of lives to be lost for the purpose of stealing another country's oil. I guess she knew she could defend her decisions with confidence.

Rice can't defend herself, Cheney, or Bush. It probably is best she remains in hiding.

Oh, sure, I could tell myself I need to be more tolerant of what happened during the Bush years, but wouldn't that be a bit unfair to all the mothers and fathers whose children died?

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Richard Heckler 2 months ago

Also 5 days a week KKFI FM 90.1 offers great news and informative talk shows between 8-10 AM.

IF home radio will not bring in this station KKFI can be streamed on our computer devices from around the world I believe. Often the subject matter from this can be googled to further expand our minds.

Also on KKFI at noon on Tuesdays InterFaith Radio http://www.interfaithradio.org brings with it some quite interesting discussions.

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Ned Wolfsosoon 2 months ago

Liberals must show tolerance needs to apply to this newspaper as well, since I pointed out that Fred Phelps was a registered Democrat and he even ran for office as a Democrat, my comment is invisible unless you are logged on to this website with a user name. Creative censorship to promote a liberal agenda? You did run the article, but conservatives are to be silenced in the comment section. How open minded and inclusive.....not.

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Kevin Elliott 2 months ago

The lie in your comment is suggesting that because phelps was a registered democrat that meant he was a liberal. Bless your heart.

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Mike Ford 2 months ago

no....they want people to publically own their comments. there were many years when people hid behind pseudonyms and now this doesn't happen. it takes some courage and smarts to comment publically. even when I had a commenting name I'd out myself and give my name publically. many papers are doing this for civility purposes.

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Bob Smith 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Who will be the next target of the liberal howling mob? Stay tuned….

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James Page 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Was Dr. Brinkley a liberal or a conservative? Was he ever invited to give a lecture at the K.U. Med School? I for one am glad to see papers publishing the real names of commenters. Have the courage of your convictions!

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Mike Ford 1 month, 4 weeks ago

who will be the next person to deal with conservative hyperboly, repeated fibs, and tired rush limbaughisms.....just wait.....

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