Growing Concerns

Dear President Jackson,

I’m a graduate student at RPI and I am very concerned about your
recent actions of shutting down democracy here on campus; first it
was the dissolution of the Faculty Senate and then it was the
censoring of a controversial art show (Wafaa Bilal’s). If it was only
the art show that you shut down, I would think that it was just hasty
and poor judgment under pressure from powerful conservative forces,
but coming so soon after the dissolution of the Faculty Senate I can
only draw the conclusion that you and your administration are afraid
of democracy. The fact that you have worked for the U.S. government
in the past and perhaps would like to again in the future is
chilling, if you were to find yourself in that position again, would
you dissolve the Senate if it disagreed with your decisions, would
you advocate shutting down controversial speech? Your recent actions
have more in common with authoritarianism than democracy.

It is accurate to say that RPI is a private corporation and not a
democracy, but why then call it a university or educational
institution if it is not committed to the free exchange of ideas? I
came here for the excellent reputation and the cutting edge art
coming out of the art department; it is known worldwide for advancing
the field of electronic arts. Your reactionary decisions are
embarrassing and the eyes now cast upon this institution discredit my
degree. If future employers ask about this debacle, will I have to
tell them that I got a degree in good behavior, obedience, and not
thinking deeply about our society? I hope not.

Please reconsider both of your decisions regarding Faculty Senate and
the Wafaa Bilal show.

Sincerely,

Dara Greenwald

PhD candidate, IEAR

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