The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Bush Library deal finalized

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SMU will announce that it is the site of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Friday morning in a “major announcement.” Two sources involved with the announcement confirmed the news Thursday afternoon to The Daily Campus – the first news outlet to report an announcement on the project was going to occur.

SMU officials have moved the public celebration of the announcement to Monday at 3 p.m. in the Umphrey Lee Ballroom. Friday morning’s announcement will be a press conference for local and national media.

The agreement between the foundation and SMU will become official sometime Friday when the Board of Trustees votes to approve the deal.

It has been 14 months since SMU entered into exclusive negotiations with the Bush Library Selection Committee – a process that is finally about to be completed.

In a release Thursday night, SMU detailed how the library project will look and work.

The controversial Bush Institute will be operate independently of the school – a victory of some sorts for opponents of the project. The institute will be run by the Bush Foundation.

Some interactions between SMU and the institute could include concurrent appointments. That would be if a fellow of the institute wished to teach classes as well or vice versa. All standard procedures would be followed for concurrent appointments that an SMU faculty member would go through.

Additionally, the relationship between SMU and the institute would have “SMU’s commitment to open inquiry and academic freedom within the University.”

The Faculty Senate raised several questions regarding the expected Bush Institute.

A showdown between the senate and the administration nearly derailed the project in March 2007. A resolution that called for SMU to disassociate itself with the institute ended in a 13-13 tie with three abstentions. The meeting became heated when then-provost Thomas Tunks warned those pushing the resolution that there would be consequences if it passed.

The main part of the library complex will be located at SMU Boulevard and Central Expressway, with final details yet to be determined until architecture renderings are completed.

Including the faculty debate, there has been a dizzying array of challenges and roadblocks to a final announcement that was expected to come quickly at first.

A group of United Methodists lead by Rev. Andrew Weaver entered the fray with an anti-library petition that was launched in late Jan. 2007. More than 12,000 people have since signed the online document.

SMU had to receive permission from the Mission Council of the South Central Jurisdiction of the church to lease land for the project, which it got in March 2007. But Weaver and his supporters maintain that final approval does not rest with the Mission Council. They point to a meeting this July in Dallas that would have the measure voted on by 290 jurisdictional delegates.

SMU seemed concerned enough about the validity of the Mission Council’s approval to get the lawyers representing the Bush Library Foundation to obtain a letter with the signatures of the Methodist Bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction verifying the lease.

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