Dick DuBord, Dent, Minn., Published May 11 2013
Letter: Forum right about Ayers controversyI am not often on the same side of an issue as The Forum’s Editorial Board. However, your editorial on April 26 regarding safeguarding academic freedom and how it was handled in the Bill Ayers-Minnesota State University Moorhead affair was right on. Thank you for caring.
As a university professor for 30 years (three at the University of North Dakota and 27 at MSUM) I invited many individuals to my classes because I wanted my students to be exposed to their special knowledge, expertise, practice experience and their commitment to social services, in general, and their clients in particular.
Professor Steven Grineski invited William Ayers to the MSUM campus for similar reasons: because he was a professor of education at the University of Illinois with a commitment to adding the value of social justice to the education curriculum. From what I have heard, Ayers delivered and was generous with his time, available to faculty and students in many classes over two or three days.
I would like to add my personal hope that all graduates of MSUM – not just education majors – will be competent in their disciplines and professional practice. Furthermore, that they will be fair-minded and open to new ideas, different peoples, ways and cultures; advocates for social justice and other good causes; responsible members in their communities; and generous in their human responses, especially to the weakest and most marginal members in our society.
Finally, I laud Grineski for being one of the top 10 professors I have come to know over my career at MSUM. No one works harder, prepares longer, reviving his courses more often, looking for new ways to reach students and inspire them to become better teachers, than does Grineski. Instead of celebrating his work and years of quality teaching and instead of making the case for academic freedom, the MSUM leadership wrung their hands, were jangled by the squawking in the social media, and they hung him out to dry.
DuBord was a professor of social work at MSUM. He retired in 2000.