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


Bush Library land causes headaches

SMU has said it has all the approval it needs to go ahead with the George W. Bush Library project. But lawyers representing the Bush Library Foundation sought out a letter with the signatures of the Methodist Bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction, which includes Texas and SMU, verifying the fact that SMU had all the approval it needed.

The letter, which was written and delivered earlier this month, had the names of 10 out of the 11 bishops representing the area on it with only one bishop declining to have his name on the document.

The letter was sought out more than one year after the school had entered into exclusive negotiations with the Bush Foundation about bringing Bush’s library to the Hilltop.

SMU officials said Tuesday night that the letter was merely verification of the fact the school already had the approval it needed. The Mission Council of the South Central Jurisdiction approved the lease of land on campus in a 10-4 vote, with one abstention, in March 2007. SMU officials said the letter is not the reason a final announcement has not been made about the library project.

“All that was merely due diligence on our part,” Brad Cheves said, SMU’s vice president for External Affairs.

Cheves said representatives of the Bush Foundation asked the school for verification of the authority of the Mission Council’s decision regarding the lease of land for the complex. He emphasized the letter was not another vote on the matter, rather it was confirmation of an already existing agreement.

But opponents of the institute that would accompany the library complex say the fact that a letter was sought out shows how nervous the school and the library committee are.

Opponents, led most notably by the Rev. Andrew Weaver, say 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.

The South Central Jurisdiction includes 1.83 million United Methodists living in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas and Louisiana. Delegates to the July meeting represent Methodists in each of those states.

It is possible that the delegates could vote against the ratification of the decision made by the Mission Council in March 2007 according to Weaver. He estimates that up to 35 percent of the delegates are progressives who are against the deal. He hopes to gain additional support to get a majority.

Cheves said Weaver is trying to promote a theory that has never been accepted and has never happened. Weaver disagrees.

“This isn’t a done deal, and it’s important to remember that during all of this,” Weaver said.

Cheves’ statement seem to contradict that. He said negotiations with the Bush Foundation are nearing completion and that multiple topics have been thoroughly vetted.

He said a deal should be finalized “in the next few weeks.”

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