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The controversy over the Bush Library at SMU continues to escalate. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert gave the library the full treatment, with collateral damage to two SMU theology professors who wrote an editorial in the Daily Campus, the student newspaper, urging rejection of the library.
The Daily Campus editorial board, though supporting the location of the library at SMU, also weighed in with an editorial raising two good issues about the library that need to be part of the debate:
“The most troubling aspect about the institute is the apparent lack of control the university will have. The idea of a having a complex affiliated with SMU without the school having any control over it is ridiculous at best and an insult at worse [sic].
“There must be oversight from SMU on the board that runs the institute. At least half of the controlling body should have current SMU faculty or administrators so the school’s interests can be represented.
“The appointment of staff or fellows to the institute should follow the same procedures schools at SMU do; they shouldn’t just be hired directly by whomever is in charge of the institute. These people will represent SMU and the university should be part of the hiring process.”
The authors of the letter further argued, “SMU has the upper hand in this debate, and should act accordingly. No one wants to go to Waco or Baylor – especially Bush and his library.” A crucial theological point that had previously been overlooked.
Finally, Susanne Johnson, one of the two theology professors who started the protest against the library with an editorial in the Daily Campus in November, wrote a letter to the editor this week asking, “Can we change the topic of conversation, please?”