SMU Faculty Concerned About Reputation, Political Interference

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Members of the Southern Methodist University faculty again raised concerns that the building of the George W. Bush presidential library on campus might damage the school's reputation, said a participant at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.

At the tightly guarded meeting, several members of the faculty questioned school president R. Gerald Turner about the political institute that will accompany the library. The institute will conduct research on issues that will be determined by Bush. Many of the questioners wondered whether such a powerful institution on campus will influence the type of research that can be conducted by SMU faculty and whether it will have an impact on the university's reputation.

"We're worried about a group of people on campus with a lot of money and a lot of power who aren't concerned for our values as an academy," Dennis Foster, a professor of English and a faculty senate member said, according to a participant in the meeting who asked not to be identified.

Turner responded by saying that because the institute will be governed by a separate board, any controversy would not reflect poorly on the university.

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