I just read about this decision of the university, only recently made public by the City Pages of Minneapolis-St. Paul ("Banning Desmond Tutu," 10/3/07). I have regarded Roman Catholic universities as strong upholders of academic freedom and liberal education, but denying Dr. Tutu a chance to speak is a black mark on your institution. I had the privilege of meeting him and hearing him speak at my church in New York City in the early 1980s, and he impressed me then as a man of faith and integrity. You are not honoring him by inviting him to speak; he is honoring you by accepting your invitation (and this would be true of any institution he spoke at).
Any prospective student who wants a college education based on commitment to the pursuit of truth and moral integrity should now think twice before applying to St. Thomas.
I see academic freedom is still dead in Minnesota. The suppression of Bishop Tutu by the University of St. Thomas reminds me of the University of Minnesota's similar effort to protect student's minds from exposure to Paul Robeson in the early 1950s. The world-renowned singer, actor, athlete, civil rights leader, and intellectual giant had been booked to give a concert on the campus. The university president said there was no way he would allow such a critic of the Cold War to appear in the age of McCarthyism, and arbitrarily canceled the event.
Banning Archbishop Desmond Tutu from speaking, and demoting Professor Cris Toffolo shows that St. Thomas isn't a university but rather a parochial school where freedom of speech is unwelcome and only politically correct dogma approved by the oligarchy is allowed.
The University of St. Thomas didn't see fit to allow Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu to speak. According to the university, Tutu made hurtful, anti-Semitic comments during a speech in Boston in 2002. If the University is against hate speech, why didn't they have a problem with Ann Coulter speaking at St. Thomas in April 2005?
There is not a clearer or more moral icon for justice and reconciliation than Desmond Tutu. For a Catholic university to roll over for the petty disinformation campaign that calls any criticism of Israeli policy "anti-Semitic" would be insulting to any institution, let alone one that claims to be faith-based. To dismiss the head of the Peace and Justice program over her truth-telling adds insult to injury. Rev. Dease (and your "advisors"), we await your apology for such a monumental error of judgment.
Hey, City Pages! I haven't been to the Uptown Theatre in years, and I was really looking forward to seeing Into the Wild there. I was looking forward to seeing it, until Scott Foundas ruined the whole movie by giving away the ending in the first sentence of his review ("Wide-Open Spaces," 9/26/07). Just because a movie is based on true events doesn't mean that everyone knows how those events turn out! I thought the first thing they taught in Movie Reviewing 101 was "don't spoil the ending in your review." Thanks a freaking lot! It will be a very long time before I give your paper a second chance and trust your editorial staff to write a movie review that won't wreck the cinematic experience. You could have at least extended me and the rest of your readers the courtesy of starting your review with "This article contains spoilers." Shame on you. What a sloppy oversight on your part.