In college, students are often exposed to the ideas of the professors and what they are teaching students. However, there is a problem when students with ideologies from a specific part of the political spectrum are being muted by other students and professors within the dominant ideology. Recent incidents have taken place with commencement speakers abandoning a speaking gig due to protest from students who disagree with their ideology. Commencement speakers have since rejected these themes including certain speakers going as far as to calling students arrogant and immature for trying to put speakers on trial rather than hearing what they have to say.
A famous recent commencement address from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the issue of bias in academia and on campus. He noted in his speech that it was really telling when a majority of the faculty at Harvard almost unanimously endorsed President Barack Obama. He noted that while there isn’t a problem with academia being liberal or conservative, there is a problem when one side completely dominates the thought and undermines the views of the opposing ideology.
He is absolutely right. Universities are supposed to be grounds for welcoming discussions from both sides rather than just dismissing one side as completely irrelevant. Hearing out the opposing sides, allows for one to try to either find some common ground or at least understand the opposing view of the opposition. This is difficult as most academic teaching and theories that are taught often are highly critical against Conservative beliefs.
At Florida State University, we are seeing a similar situation with John Thrasher being nominated for the President’s position at Florida State University. I understand that he doesn’t necessarily have the academic back round that most people are complaining about, but that doesn’t mean that he is completely unqualified for the president’s position. I also find it ironic that the FSView wrote an article bashing Thrasher as the sole candidate yet a few days later would write an article praising the consideration of another politician who was a Democratic candidate named Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda. In the article it noted that FSU English Department Chair Eric Walker had said that the despite not seeing Thrasher’s qualifications he believed that the best thing he should do would be to resign from consideration. You know because the FSView is an independent newspaper and writes independently rather than slanting articles to cater to a specific ideology. Progressive sites such as the Daily Ko’s made note of his affiliation with the Koch Brothers. This further enraged academia and students at Florida State University. Today they had a vote to remove Thrasher from consideration but he was approved despite faculty and students being unanimously against his nomination.
However, I’m not going to simply dismiss Thrasher based on his political views without letting him explain his qualifications and what he plans to do for the university. I’m not the kind of student who will just dismiss someone for being associated with a specific ideology. That is not what being open minded is all about and that is not the right attitude that any student should have at a university. However I’d suggest reading his resume so students will have an opportunity to view his qualifications and then judge for themselves whether that is someone who should represent and run the university. I’ve attached his resume as well as the resumes of the other candidates here.