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Posted: 11/15/2002 10:28:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/15/2002 10:45:12 AM EDT by Kihn]
You have reached the Office of the President, Saint Xavier University. I very much regret having to resort to an automated response, but I must do so for two reasons. First, messages of concern from military men and women around the world now far exceed my ability to respond to them individually. I have sent hundreds of personal replies during the past 5 days but, unfortunately, I no longer have the ability to keep up. Second, I will be away from the university for several days on important university business. I will keep on top of this matter, but will have limited time in front of a computer. PLEASE KNOW THAT I WILL READ AND GIVE CAREFUL CONSIDERATION TO EVERY MESSAGE THAT COMES TO ME. I TAKE THE MATTER CONCERNING PROF. KIRSTEIN VERY SERIOUSLY AND I AM CONSCIENTIOUSLY WEIGHING ALL OPTIONS AND ADVICE Here is a brief summary of what I have heard so far, and my responses. COMMENTS MADE TO THE UNIVERSITY - "Prof. Peter Kirstein's initial email to a cadet at the Air Force Academy was tasteless, unprovoked, rude, unprofessional, and indefensible." I agree completely. - "Prof. Kirstein's apologies seem less than genuine to some who have read his remarks." It always is difficult to look into a man's soul, but I believe Dr. Kirstein's apologies to be genuine. However, apologies are insufficient by themselves. Fortunately, the cadet has graciously accepted Prof. Kirstein's apology, as have others at the Academy, and conversation now is proceeding in a courteous, professional manner. - "The forthcoming Academic Assembly at the Academy is an event worth supporting. It's a shame that Saint Xavier's response was so negative." Prof. Kirstein did not speak for the University in his first response. Saint Xavier University intends to identify and support one or more students who will attend the Assembly. - "Prof. Kirstein has spoiled the reputation of the University, particularly if his views or the manner in which he expressed them are reflective of the University's attitude." Prof. Kirstein's views are solely his own and do not reflect the University in substance or tone. Saint Xavier University stands for reasoned discourse and educational practices based on "respect, caring, and justice." Prof. Kirstein's email to the cadet reflected none of these attributes. Crude language is not and will not be tolerated. - "Prof. Kirstein should be summarily fired." As president, I am exploring all options for ensuring that such behavior never again occurs. While I understand why many request his immediate dismissal, I have to weigh very carefully matters of due process, academic protocol, legal precedent, and the greater good. I assure you that I will do what is right in this matter. I also will follow the University's policy of not discussing personnel matters with third parties. "Academic freedom is not a legitimate defense for the kind of language used by Prof. Kirstein." I agree. Academic freedom is about the right to search for truth, the right to hold views at odds with the majority, and the right to teach unencumbered by rigid orthodoxies. It does not justify hate speech, vile language, etc. Professors here and elsewhere are expected to be respectful at all times, to engage in genuine, reasoned discourse about controversial matters, and to distinguish personal views from institutional positions when necessary for the sake of clarity. Thus, Prof. Kirstein is free to hold views critical of the military if he wishes to do so, but he is not free to issue demeaning, degrading statements AS A PROFESSOR in or outside of the classroom. In other respects, he enjoys the same freedoms of speech extended to all citizens. I deeply regret the hurt that has affected so many. As both president and former USAF, I offer my most sincere apologies to all in the military and beyond whose sacrifices and intentions have been denigrated by Prof. Kirstein's words. I ask for your understanding as we attempt to rectify this unexpected situation. Please know that the University is taking this matter very seriously and will do its best to bring the matter to a proper close. You have been heard! My goal is to seek a just solution, a practical response, and a lasting form of resolution that will uphold the integrity of both the university and the military. To those who are current or former members of the military, I offer my heart-felt gratitude for your service to the nation and I extend my personal best wishes on the occasion of Veterans Day. Sincerely and respectfully yours, Dr. Richard Yanikoski, President Saint Xavier University
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Seems like a sincere and honest attempt to fix something that is broke. Hoping to hear more soon about the resolution. [url]http://www.sxu.edu/ilinks/response.htm[/url] edited cause i cain't speil
Link Posted: 11/15/2002 10:59:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/15/2002 7:26:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/15/2002 7:37:06 PM EDT by Kihn]
Hopefully he'll be able to bring this thing to a conclusion quick and would think he would given a public opinion. If not we can always voice our concerns again. EDITED after saw this update: [url]http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=153379&page=4&w=myTopicPop[/url] Whoops. Guess linked to St Xavier President's response too soon and thought an earlier post was his reply that he promised to deliver by 12:00 Central today.
Link Posted: 11/15/2002 8:09:33 PM EDT
I don't get it, frankly. Do we only have free speech as long as someone's feelings don't get hurt or what? Was this professor acting officially on behalf of his university when he made these remarks? What about sticks and stones... If I had to apologize every time I made a controversial statement, just on ar15.com, damn, I would spend the next five or six years just apologizing! Free speech is the basis of a free society. Fully 1/2 of it is going to be lousy, but it is up to each of us to evaluate it and decide what makes sense. Sorry if you're feelings got hurt, so solly (imitating a Chinese)! "It does not justify hate speech, vile language" Hate speech is bullshit--think censorship. Who decides what is 'hate speech'? Vile language is par for the course in contemporary America. I'm sure an Air Force cadet has heard all the bad words. I would hope someone about to become a commissioned officer in our armed forces would have thicker skin. What will they do if they ever meet up with a salty old Navy Master Chief? Wet their pants? And for you 82ndAbn, so you don't misunderstand where I'm coming from again, I think our country could get by just fine with a much smaller military and that the war on terror is mainly a political ploy to keep the military/industrial complex humming along now that the Cold War is a fleeting memory. Something had to come along because the War on Some Drugs was not big enough and people were starting to get wise to the tired old prohibition game. Furthermore, I don't see any need to recruit thousands of women soldiers, nor for most of the unbelievably technological equipment being tested. Our military is bigger and more powerful than those of the next six or seven countries combined. Clearly overkill and there will be backlash from it--lost opportunities for lowering taxes for example. It doesn't mean I hate you. I'm just tired of all the touchy-feely PC crap and "if it weren't for us, you would have no freedom" slogans that are completely baseless attempts to continue justifying what is unjustifiable. Ft. Bragg, home of your beloved 82nd is a perfect example--domestic violence & poverty in the ranks is a growing problem. Every military town I've ever been to is a shithole full of drugs violence and vice. Why is that? In a nutshell, too many promises that our government can't keep and really bottom of the barrel personnel--basically the military is being used as a federal jobs program, something that is clearly prohibited by the US Constitution.
Link Posted: 11/15/2002 11:32:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/15/2002 11:45:07 PM EDT by Kihn]
St Xavier President's partial statement: Academic freedom is about the right to search for truth, the right to hold views at odds with the majority, and the right to teach unencumbered by rigid orthodoxies. It does not justify hate speech, vile language, etc. Professors here and elsewhere are expected to be respectful at all times, to engage in genuine, reasoned discourse about controversial matters, and to distinguish personal views from institutional positions when necessary for the sake of clarity. Thus, Prof. Kirstein is free to hold views critical of the military if he wishes to do so, but he is not free to issue demeaning, degrading statements AS A PROFESSOR in or outside of the classroom. In other respects, he enjoys the same freedoms of speech extended to all citizens.
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Professor Kirstein's original comment: You are a disgrace to this country and I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby killing tactics of collateral damage. Help you recruit. Who, top guns to reign death and destruction upon nonwhite peoples throughout the world? Are you serious sir? Resign your commission and serve your country with honour. No war, no air force cowards who bomb countries without AAA, without possibility of retaliation. You are worse than the snipers. You are imperialists who are turning the whole damn world against us. September 11 can be blamed in part for what you and your cohorts have done to the Palestinians, the VC, the Serbs, a retreating army at Basra. You are unworthy of my support. Peter Kristein Professor of History Saint Xavier University
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Air Force Cadet's original request: Dear Sir or Ma'am, The Air Force Academy is going to be having our annual Academy Assembly. This is a forum for mainly but not only Political Science majors, discussing very important issues dealing with politics. Right now we are in the planning stage for advertising and we would appreciate your help in the follow areas. Do you know of or have any methods or ways for interschool advertising and or communications? What would be the best way for us to advertise at your school whether it is sending you the fliers and you making copies or by perhaps putting an advertisement in your local publication? We would appreciate your input and the cost of what you recommend. Thank you for your time and consideration. Very Respectfully Cadet xxxxxxxxxxx
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The point is Kirstein is for free speech as long it is palatable to him. Kirstein chose to try to restrict free debate, insult and deride a student who was trying to find an avenue for open DEBATE. KIRSTEIN DID NOT WANT OPEN DEBATE. Kirstein made it a point to state his faculty position with the university and thereby imply that this was the position of the University. KIRSTEIN's point is that he views himself as an arbitor of what will be open for debate and what will not. Kirstein chose to abuse his position by insulting a STUDENT while making it clear that he was a PROFESSOR. Kirstein is, as we all are, free to say whatever he pleases. He is also subject to ridicule and scrutiny for his remarks, as we all are, when you exercise this freedom. The source of anger is not his right to free speech but his choice to use his influence, as a member of a faculty of a university, to insult, chasitize and deny another the same right he so freely exercises. Mmmmkay???
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