1 thought on “Writing, Public Life and Civic Engagement

  1. It is indeed great news that the Allbritton Center will complete construction and provide valuable new space to the Social Sciences and Writing faculties. The mission of the center jibes well with Wesleyan’s proud history of political engagement and community service. But so long as Wesleyan continues its restrictive policy towards hosting candidates for office on campus, political dialogue and academic freedom will suffer.

    While I understand that the University wants to protect its financial well being and tax status, Wesleyan’s current policy preventing University-affiliated groups from inviting political candidates to campus limits academic freedom while employing an extremely restrictive interpretation of the law, well outside the norm of other universities (for more information, see here: http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/A/outside.htm).

    I’d hope that as Middletown prepares for a mayoral contest in 2009 we welcome candidates in an open way and in settings all over campus. This will help the Wesleyan community better engage with the city and build good will on both our parts. But if the students and faculty aren’t allowed to engage in the political process with candidates themselves, our politicians will be less accountable to these important constituencies and these groups will have less access to the kind of engagement Wesleyan has been lauded for in the past.

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