The best of summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. That odd uneven time.
To the Editor:
I feel that the college’s invitation of Jeane Kirkpatrick as Commencement speaker is most unfortunate, and am stirred to make the strongest possible protest. The issue is not merely that of a controversial government; a speech by Jeane Kirkpatrick on almost any other occasion would be entirely appropriate, although it would undoubtedly stir controversy on campus and lead to appropriate expressions of protests while she was here. Commencement is a special event, and neither faculty nor students are able to simply stay away if the speaker offends them. We are dealing here with a foreign policy which many of us consider selfish in the extreme, murderous in its intent, and simply grossly immoral.
Miriam Ford considers, with some reason, the U.S. administration complicit in the murder of her aunt. Simple consideration on the part of the college would refrain from imposing upon her the choice of either absenting herself from her own Commencement or listening to an exponent of that policy which has cost her a beloved family member.
This speaker will also put upon me the dilemma of choosing whether to attend out of solidarity with my senior students (in which case I will undoubtedly wear an armband or some other expression of protest), to stay away, or (if I find sufficient support among my colleagues) to picket in protest.
The college has once before aroused the conscience of its faculty to picket its Commencement when a representative of a similarly murderous administration was the speaker during the Vietnam War. It is sad when an institution to which all of us, students and faculty, owe so much, offends us so deeply. I urge in the strongest possible terms that this injudicious invitation be withdrawn, out of courtesy to Miriam and to all the rest of us whose consciences are outraged by it.
Bruce Hawkins, Associate Professor of Physics
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