Being an historian, one is often acused of living in the past - and I guess that this must be the case, as my reaction to the news of the SBHE's decision is best summed up by something that was written almost exactly 224 years ago (Dec. 19, 1776).
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
There are many things which need to be said about the Board's recent decision, and people such as Jerry Bass, Cindy Juntunen, Margaret Zidon and several others have given voice to many of the most important points - and I agree with them whole-heartedly. However, what has not drawn any comment, and what should chill all of us to the bone - no matter what side of the name/logo issue we might champion - was the comment of one Board member about the need to re-evaluate Indian Studies and other Native American programs, (and here I paraphrase) as they seem to have lost sight of their mission. Is this the opening salvo in the Board's latest crusade - the attack upon academic freedom and, dare one say it, free speech within the North Dakota University system?
Does the Board have no regard whatsoever for this most important of concepts? How tragic that the e-mail to which I am responding highlights the fear of untenured faculty to speak their minds openly on this - or any other issue. Indeed, I suspect that there are a good number of tenured faculty out there who do not want to go on record for fear of running afoul of the Board. This is no way to run a University system and it is my greatest hope that UND's senior administrators will stand up to the Board, and tell its members in no uncertain terms that even if they disagree with their faculty, they will defend to the deaththeir right of free expression - be they tenured or not.