Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I wrote to Renee Zeman, chairman of the College Republicans at St. Kate's, where a scheduled speech by Bay Buchanan was prevented from speaking. �It was her group that gave the invitation to Buchanan that its administration quashed. �The StarTribune poll at the time I'm writing this indicates that 55% believe that Buchanan should have been allowed to speak because "colleges must be open to exposing students to a range of thought." �Zeman agrees. �Here are my questions (in italics) and her answers:
I note that the new St. Kate's spin is that it also barred Hillary Clinton and Al Franken from speaking. This is wrong as well and inconsistent with a university's mission and statements about academic freedom and its encouragement to become, as Renee puts it, "a strong, active, intelligent, reflective woman." �Students should be exposed to all views, not hidden from them in a vain attempt to provide "balance". �High school seniors who are beginning their search for a college should investigate the actions of their prospective schools, as well as their words.
1. What did you hope to learn from Bay Buchanan's lecture?�
� The opportunity to hear Bay speak would have been a great motivator not only for me but for all of the students that would've gotten to hear her. It is always a challenge to get youth excited and passionate about elections and about politics in general that I think she would've been someone who could put a lot of enthusiasm into the college community. Besides that, she's a woman right out of the history books. The opportuntiy to hear from anyone that has had a prominent role in the white house would be a very educational and valuable lecture.
2. Do you support the administration's position that there should not be partisan speech during the election campaign? Why or why not?
� It doesn't make sense to me that a college is trying to ban political speech during an election year. I always thought college was when you were supposed to develop your ideas and opinons based off of educated and inteligent points of view. Why on earth a college would ban partisan speech does not make any sense to me. I don't see other colleges doing it, I don't know why St. Kate's feels that they have to. I guess i should add that if the administration is actually trying to ban political speech from campus they should try stepping into a classroom and listen to the professors "not be political". It's also completely contradicting to what they have literally shoved down our throats since I have been there. I had to take a whole course my freshman year about being a strong, active, intelligent, reflective woman. Now by their actions they are telling us what we can and cannot listen to on campus. I wouldn't even mind if they brought some speakers from the other side to campus to talk. It's all about getting an education and learning what it is exactly that you believe in.
3. What did you believe were your free speech rights when you came to St. Kate's? Was there any indication during your recruitment to the school that academic freedom was subject to restrictions due to St. Kate's Catholic basis?
�� There have been a lot of thing about St. Kate's that I wasn't expecting since I was recruited. It's like they have a whole different idea of what being a Catholic school is. St. Thomas is practically a brother school to St. Kate's and is just as much, (I'd say probably more) Catholic than St. Kate's is. They don't seem to have a problem letting partisan speakers on campus. Niether do the rest of the colleges around the Twin Cities.�