Monday, September 07, 2009

Bucknell Update

It's back to school time in L-burg and, unfortunately, everything isn't sunshine and lollipops at my alma mater. Here's my latest on the behalf of the Alliance for a Better Bucknell:

The new academic year is about to begin at Bucknell. For many students, especially the new Class of 2013, it is a time of excitement and new beginnings. Regrettably, for many of us who are not on campus, this is a time of sadness given two recent developments.

First, Bucknell president Brian C. Mitchell announced his resignation this summer. As anyone who has ever met him knows, President Mitchell is a force of nature. He has, over his tenure, applied his considerable energy to some of the most pressing challenges facing Bucknell--including making a concerted effort to pop the "Bucknell bubble" and ensure that students are confronted with a wide range of views on the issues facing our nation today. ABB will miss President Mitchell and wishes him success in his next endeavor. We also hope the Board of Trustees will ensure that his successor is the kind of change agent who will force Bucknell into greater heights of excellence. His legacy deserves it, and our degrees demand it.

Second, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education--a civil-liberties group in Philadelphia--has placed Bucknell on its "Red Alert" list given the ongoing free-speech dispute we have noted here. The group's announcement is accompanied by prominent advertisements, including in the U.S. News & World Report college guide. Clearly, this is not the reputation we want Bucknell to have. ABB urges all friends of Bucknell: Redouble your efforts to change this unacceptable situation. Call on President Mitchell, kindly but firmly, to stand up and make clear that the events of the spring were a mistake, and that all students and faculty will have their right to speak freely respected. Tell your Bucknell friends, and ask them to do the same.

That is not fun, we know, and it is not how we would prefer to begin the school year. But as it is often said, we are all members of the "Bucknell family," and sometimes family members have to pull each other aside and present some hard truths. Please join us in doing that at this challenging, and crucial, time for the university we all love.

--Allison Kasic '05