Archived Story

Moorhead State University: A microcosm of what is happening to higher education

Published 9:22am Thursday, May 16, 2013 Updated 11:24am Thursday, May 16, 2013

I hold Minnesota State University-Moorhead (MSUM) in the highest esteem. Growing up in western Minnesota, it was the college of choice for many. When I heard Bill Ayers was named a visiting scholar in the College of Education, I was deeply concerned.

Bill Ayers has admittedly committed acts of domestic terrorism. His anarchist behavior and fascist viewpoints should give everyone pause. Yet, he is invited to teach our future educators at one of our most beloved colleges.

I wrote MSUM with my concern. Their response was disappointing.

First, MSUM emphasized how he was brought to campus “based on his work as a scholar and advocate for better schools.”

Is the best we can do? He may have worked as a scholar and advocated for better schools, but by what standard and whose opinion is he qualified? Are there no other scholars out there advocating for better schools? At the very least, are there some who haven’t blown up buildings?

MSUM’s statement subsequently explains that non-taxpayer funds were used to pay his travel and he refused an honorarium.

So, which is it MSUM? Is he really a legitimate addition to the team? And does MSUM really think concern for education stops at signing the check?

By this logic, we shouldn’t care about education if we didn’t pay for it. This statement is hypocritical and patronizing.

The final portion of MSUM’s response letter discusses “cherished ideals” in education “to explore controversial ideas” and how “we have an obligation to present a full range of ideas to our students” and we do this so “students have the critical thinking skills to make their own choices.”

What a contradiction! First, Ayers is there to discuss “schools.” Second, I shouldn’t care about education because I didn’t pay for it. Apparently now it’s an academic freedom issue. This final excuse is a blatant attempt to silence critics.

After reading my critique so far, one might be surprised that I fully support bringing Bill Ayers to campus.

In a free society, we need to hear and be aware of all philosophies, especially those at the extremes. However, MSUM did not hire Ayers in this spirit. They brought him to campus to teach our future educators, not give a philosophical lecture on the use of anarchy and terrorism to drive one’s agenda.

If this was the case, I would still be disgusted by the Ayers invitation, but I would respect MUSM. To support my point, I would be equally disgusted if Westboro Baptist Church leaders were invited to campus. For those unfamiliar, these are people holding signs at funerals saying, “God Hates Fags.”

As much as I equally despise their viewpoints, I see value in bringing a controversial group like this to campus. These people require our attention just as Bill Ayers and other communist/fascist prescribers do. To the credit of the Westboro Baptist Church, they at least respect free speech boundaries and have not committed criminal conduct.

Yet, I doubt MSUM would invite Westboro Baptist Church, or the Klu Klux Klan, or any other extreme party on the opposite end of the spectrum from Bill Ayers. I further question the standards within our universities today when Rick Santorum and Ben Carson are being disinvited to speak at graduations.

Whether you agree with their viewpoints or not, it cannot be argued they aren’t upstanding citizens with great personal achievements. Why are they being silenced? How are students supposed to “ have the critical thinking skills to make their own choices” when only presented with one viewpoint?

This entire saga speaks to a broader issue. The mantra of exchanging ideas is only employed when the agenda fits. The same people who espouse “the freedom to explore controversial ideas” work to silence those who oppose them by labeling them as bigoted simpletons.

Other viewpoints are either completely ignored or deemed anti-woman, anti-gay, racist or other marginalizing terms to discredit the messengers or misrepresent their message.

Shame on you MSUM for not upholding the ideals you pompously preach. As a parent, a Minnesotan, and as an educator in the MNSCU system, I am disturbed by this subversive indoctrination. This is done in our schools under the guise of exchange of ideas. We pay for it and tacitly support it by not saying anything.

 

Mary (Karst) Stueve

  • camobabe

    Mary, get prepared for an audit by the 0bama IRS. You have brought to life the terrorist background of William Ayres, the anti American radical professor who launched the political career of one Barack Hussein 0bama, holding numerous fund raisers and rallies for the future President when he first ran for the Illinois Senate, training campaign workers and ahem, “Activists” for 0bama when he ran for the U.S. Senate, and training team leaders for 0bama’s subsequent presidential campaigns. Ayer’s favorite promotional photo for himself is a scene in a dark alley where he is posed standing on a crumpled American flag.

    Little Barry is not going to be happy that you have made us aware of Ayer’s campaign against America in the Minnesota state university system.

  • Richard Olson

    Here is some free advise for you Ms. Stueve. If you’re a student in the Minnesota University System, get out! You obviously haven’t learned anything and prolonging your studies will be of no benefit to you. Anyone so devoid of intellectual curiosity that you can not set aside your hated of another’s politics to learn what that person has to say on other subjects does not belong in a learning environment.

    Right now you sound like alias Camilla lite, continued intellectual deprivation will lead to writing stupid revisionist stuff like alias Camilla wrote above. I don’t recall alias Camilla outraged on these pages when George Bush used the IRS, FBI, CIA and the Secret Service to go after its political opponents.

    I guess she has as much selective outrage as she has selective memory….all of which leads to being the perpetual victim. A guise no doubt honed at Parris Island.

    • camobabe

      Alias Richard/Curly/Ackermunk, the principles which I hold dear, my beliefs which guide and inform me were learned in the Christian family of my childhood and adolescence.

      Honed in places like the drive up the coast road from Saudi Arabia to liberate Kuwait, years later in places like Kabul, Kanduhar, Baghlan. Reinforced in Basrah, Al Amarah, Fallujah, Al Nassiriyah.

      I am still working on me, despite the attacks on my beliefs from the likes of you and Larry/Walt and alias Phaedrus. And, my eyesight and sense for survival are sharpened so that I realize that the dictator 0bama, whom you slavishly serve, is the greater threat to this country and its freedom ,at least partly as a result of the anti American radicalism learned in the parlors and meeting rooms of Bill Ayers and his convicted murderer wife, Bernadine.

      You call me a self described victim? All of America is victim to leftist radical ideology and actions in congress, the courts, this current president. Larry talks about some poll which says 44% of the people feeling only a bloody confrontation will solve our national problems? I submit that this poll must have been taken before the revelations of the deliberate abandonment of our embassy security personnel in Benghazi, of the attacks against non leftists by the 0bama IRS, the turnover of our healthcare to the IRS thugs running 0bamacare. The poll, if taken now probably would read more like 66% who believe that only bloody tactics will clean out the slime in our government. Mores the pity that it would come to that, but few would back down, given the alternative of a world run by trainees of Ayers and company.

      That childhood training I mentioned? It requires that I pray for those who work to undermine God’s work, His teachings. So, you should know that there is at least one person who prays for the salvation of your soul every day. You too, Larry/Walt, or whatever name you are using today.

    • dose_of_reality

      Clearly you don’t excel at reading and comprehension Dick. Or, maybe you quit reading after the first paragraph? An astute reader would have noticed that the author actually embraces intellectual curiosity, especially in the format of guest lectures from provocative speakers, provided that multiple perspectives across the intellectual spectrum are represented and that our esteemed universities don’t hire extremists to indoctrinate our children. Her points are clearly articulated and valid. Your response lacked the proper context and bordered on inane partisan gibberish.

      • Walt Henry

        Dose, you make a great point, the letter writer does write she would welcome opposing views. However, her tone and the labeling of people indicates there is no truth to that statement. I would question how SHE knows what the motive of the administrators was. Is she clairvoyant? Does she hear voices? Just as her statement concerning hearing opposing views is not supported even though she makes that claim so too the expressed reasons by the administrators for bringing in Ayers might not be their real reasons.
        It would seem the real point of the letter is “I hate this man and what he’s done” and “why not bring someone I like, some fine Christian fellow.” And there is the rub!
        Is education based on science, math, fact and an accurate understanding of history controversial? The letter writer seems to think it is.

        • dose_of_reality

          I concur that the author could have used more neutral language for the entire piece OR used equally harsh language in describing some of the right-wing analogs of Ayers. This could certainly be construed as a bias. However, I think the author assumes that most people view most of the extreme right-wing examples in a negative light and felt the need to emphasize the extremism of Ayers because he was actually hired with little fanfare and has admitted to blowing up buildings in his past. Furthermore, the author states she is equally disgusted with some of these extreme right-wing examples. Personally, I place Ayers in the same intellectual and moral camp as some of the outstanding Westboro Baptist leaders.

          • Walt Henry

            You are being too kind to the radical right. Ayers was an anti-establishment extremist and used violence against the establishment years ago. While his views may still very well be extreme he is working within the establishment and is well thought of in educational circles. It would seem his views have a secular basis for I know of no main stream religions that promote violence to achieve a peaceful end. The activities of the Westboro Baptist Church are as current as they are disgusting; they are not the activities of the Weathermen of 40 years ago. Therefore can not really be used to justify one or the other.
            If Ayers has committed a crime he should be charged, prosecuted and if convicted imprisoned. After his imprisonment his debt should be considered paid and be free to participate in society again according to his
            God given gifts. That is not only the American way but also within the nature of God’s grace. If he has not been charged then he should be free to use his talents.
            Now if his ideas on education are controversial then certainly someone could and should be hired to present the other side. But there is nothing in the letter to suggest his views on education are controversial–only an attack on him based on his past and a suggestion someone without any qualifications in education should speak because he is a good Catholic, was a Senator who was defeated in his home state and ran for President.
            The emotion in the letter and the passion in the heart confuse and destroy the message.

      • Richard Olson

        “Dose”, my response is spot on. Clear and concise. You either suffer from what you accuse me or you so closely identify with the authors parochial and provincial view you seek to run interference for her.

        The author does nothing more than try to put lipstick on her hillbilly pig in the hopes of looking somewhat more sophisticated. The fact that the moth of Camilla found her flame comforting is sufficient proof.

        Lastly, true “reality” would be posting comments under your own name.

        • dose_of_reality

          Thank you for validating my post. Game over.

          • Richard Olson

            Your post must include “whistling past the graveyard”.

  • Walt Henry

    A recent poll revealed 44% of Republicans believe an armed rebellion against our government will be necessary to preserve our liberties. These Republicans seem to think is not only necessary but acceptable top use deadly force against an oppressive establishment. Mr. Ayers as a young man and possibly, even probably still believes the same. The objection to MSUM’s action is what?
    (The letter writer uses the word fascist to describe Ayers–fascism is a concocted word to describe the synergistic association between government and business when used to run Italy in the 1930′s and 40′s. It is the opposite of communism. For Ayers to have fascist leanings he would have to favor big business and the established powers that go with it. I doubt those are/were his po0litical beliefs. A serious scholar would know this.)

    • camobabe

      Golly gee! Someone mislabeled one of your heroic communists as a fascist? Shame! Shame! He is still a radical leftie who, along with his apprentices in the White House and the Democratic party , are intent in shredding our constitution, abolishing the right to worship in religion, the right to own property such as homes, farms, commercial and industrial facilities.

      • Walt Henry

        Camilla, the reason the label the letter writer used is important is because the label, with some of the other descriptive words she used, seems to identify her as one of the radical right wing and the radical right wing is scaring most of the voting populace of this country. She doesn’t appear to have thought through the conflict she writes about on her own; it’s just radicalized right wing talking points. And you know what Camilla, radicalization whether it be political or religious I nature is scaring people. (44% of Republicans believe we need another civil war. That’s a statistic from the radical right. Thank God they are such a small minority!)

  • Richard Olson

    Yes alias Camilla, you are a self promoting victim, a constant crybaby, a whiner of the first order. I’ve never heard anyone who moans and bleats as much as you do for as little reason. You love to wear the badge of the oppressed Christian. You live in a country with a church on every other street in every town, you’ve got your gods name on our currency and in our pledge to the flag. You have entire hospitals devoted to Christian healing, some run by religious gangs. Your Christian holidays are shoved down the throats of the entire nation for months before they actually arrive. Each and every President has been a Christian, even when swearing to testify truthfully you have to put your hand on the guide book of your religion. Your religion is plastered on television 24-7 on some channels and you to get to whine about politics all the while without paying a dime in taxes and are even exempted from some laws that are enforced for others. You and your ilk of crybabies have been riding that Roman Lion sympathy ruse for thousands of years.

    Yet you phony Camilla Ryan have the crust to complain about being oppressed. You’re a joke, a shallow empty vessel who knows absolutely nothing about oppression . You live in Jesus land and act like some poor deprived persecuted Jew in WW2. Your re-telling of current and past history/news is childlike pabulum fed to ill-read, easily fooled, willfully gullible hicks who prefer the comfort of conspiracies over the work involved to make our country better.

    You don’t want truth, you want sympathy. You want the world to pat poor little persecuted Camilla on the head and say “Oh you poor girl, the whole world mistreats you, here’s a sticker”!

    As for your praying for my so-called soul….that’s just another example of trying to shove your religion down my throat and still more ticket punching on the sympathy express to get you a front row seat nearer your god. Stop it, I don’t want it, I don’t need it and your time would be better spent acting like a real Christian instead of a phony screaming hysterical fanatic from Bob Jones University.

  • Richard Olson

    I wonder….since the death of Barry Goldwater breaths there an intellectually honest conservative? Bill Ayers killed no one and is vilified by the right. But you can cast it in concrete that those same faux indignant citizens who feign outrage here because of an academic invitation would fawn over an invitation to war criminals who have murdered thousands if not millions. Such as Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Barrack Obama.

    The outrage of this letters author and those seeking to provide cover for her have more to do with politics than morals or judgment.

    • Walt Henry

      Exactly so. I would like to hear what it is about the opinions of Ayers on education in 2013 that some find so offensive. I never hear anything about that. What I hear and what I read is “I hate the man” and one of the first steps to total government control in countries where that has happened is attacks on the intellectuals; not for what the intellectuals have done but because facts, math and an accurate understanding of history threaten the desire of some to strip people of their liberties. I wish the letter writer and those who supported her position had used facts and not emotion.

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