Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Iron Wall Descending On Virginia Tech

It is ironic that in a speech not in Congress but on Westminster College campus grounds
In 1946 Churchill warned of an Iron Curtain that Eastern Europe would soon surround
Preventing voting and expression; residents could no longer leave
Any new ideas outside the Soviet Union would be given the heave
If Churchill were still alive and invited to almost any campus to give a speech
He would find the rapid movement of a new Iron Curtain continuing to extend its reach
Students could come and go but not conservatives from outside
The two way exchange of ideas from without and within were more like the outgoing tide
The academic beach of sand on which ideas and discourse could easily walk
Was now a slippery path covered in barnacles and sharp rocks
Academic Freedom is supposed to be about discourse free from threats or raised fists and shouts
Heckling and drowning out a speaker because you disagree is not what Academic Freedom is all about
Nor is it about a student not questioning a liberal professor’s mind
Not if the grade is needed and he does not want in his career to be left behind
The issue of immigration is a major issue which requires some sense of civility and on both sides discourse
Not whistles, jeers, shouts, stomping of feet and heckling out the speaker until the protestors are hoarse
Bay Buchanan was invited by Virginia Tech’s Young Republicans to give a speech
On immigration with some conservative views to the attending students
The news accounts indicate the speech prompted a spirited but civil debate
This is an issue in which violence and threats from both sides needs to abate
Yet when the academic freedom dust had settled and cleared,
The Student Board controlling funds voted to ban them for the rest of the academic year.
Banning funding to bring speakers from the conservative side
The concept of Academic Freedom completely derides.
The Young Republicans announced the decision they will appeal
I hope they prevail; after all the exchange and debate of ideas is the heart of the Academic Freedom deal
© November 19, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet
Alaskanpoet for Hire, Poems to Admire
Poet Extraordinaire Beyond Compare
Rhymes on the Memorable Times
The Perfect Gift, All Recipients to Receive a Lasting Lift      

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