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

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Bitterness and the Bush library

It has been over a year since the Bush Library committee entered into exclusive negotiations with SMU, and yet many affiliated with our school and the Methodist church are still bickering about the possibility of the complex coming to the Hilltop.

Just two weeks ago it was reported that a letter was sent to the Bush Library foundation by a number of prominent Methodist ministers, which stated that the leasing of land by SMU to the foundation would be subject to approval by a Methodist convention in Dallas in July, and that any arrangement made without the Methodist convention’s consent would be unlawful.

While the letter itself sounds legally intimidating, it probably will not make much of a difference in the end. Brad Cheves, SMU’s Vice President of External Affairs, was quoted in The Daily Campus on Jan. 31, stating that the Bush Library proposal had already been through the necessary procedures and that such actions by the aforementioned Methodist ministers were “desperate theatrics.” Indeed, it seems that those opposed to the Bush Library are willing to twist the law in any way necessary to advance their own agenda.

If the appropriate steps have already been taken to ensure the Bush Library’s placement at SMU, and the agreement is all but finalized, then why are many in the Methodist church and our own school of theology taking such drastic measures to stop it? Is it because of their allegiance to SMU and concern for its prestige and reputation? Or is it because of their selfish partisan agendas? The answer, predictably, is the latter.

I can understand the concerns that some have with the Bush Library’s think tank; however, I think that the negatives that many perceive to be associated with such an institute do not come close to outweighing the positives that the complex as a whole will bring to SMU. As much as the esteemed Spanish lecturer George Henson may hate to hear it, the vast majority of students and alumni of SMU are in favor of the Bush complex, think tank and all. Besides, this is a predominantly conservative campus, and a right-wing think tank in Dallas is just as logical as the liberal think tanks present at UC Berkeley and Yale. While some may argue with the presence of a conservative think tank on campus, its inclusion in the Bush Library complex is an all or nothing package, and it is difficult to argue that the Bush Library and its adjoining think tank would undeniably be a significant asset to SMU.

Financially speaking, the complex would be a $500 million investment on our campus, with almost all of that money coming from private donors instead of the school itself. And in comparison to other large private schools in the South, such as Duke, Vanderbilt, Tulane, TCU, Rice and Wake Forest, SMU would be the only such school to have a presidential library on its campus. The national media attention that SMU would receive as a result of the library would be substantial, and the complex would bring thousands of new visitors to our campus each year.

Whether or not you agree with the policies of George W. Bush, it is undeniable that he has presided over one of the most historically significant periods in American history. Any attempt to deny SMU the privilege of having such a prominent academic asset on its campus is motivated solely by liberal partisanship and is not in the best interests of our school.

Joseph Goddard is a junior political science major. He can be reached for contact at [email protected].

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