A Point of View by Paul Montesino

A Change is in the Air.
A Point of View © 1996
By Paul V. Montesino, PhD, MBA, CSP.

Not long ago, I wrote two different but connected articles that have come home to roost. One was about the presidents of two universities, Harvard, and Pennsylvania, who resigned after a grilling from a committee of a “wise” U.S. Congress, and another article more recent about the constant violent controversies between students and university administrators who had a different opinion about students free expression.

Following my usual practice of avoiding sounding partial on controversial positions of the day avoiding offending one side or the other unintentionally and respecting their points of view, I suggested that students try to concentrate on their books and not on each other’s positions. As you know, even though I have been writing in Rumbo since 1996, a newspaper and website based in Lawrence, Mass., where I don’t have my residence, I’ve never addressed Lawrence’s local issues directly, preferring to touch on bigger principles that its citizens may consider if they so desire when they try to reach their own opinions without my help. It has worked in the past and I see no reason to expect that it won’t work in the future.

It sounds like I was correct in my approach. The President of Harvard University, with the support of its Faculty, announced that the administration “will refrain from controversial statements about public policy issues” The leadership will not issue official statements about public matters that do not directly affect the university’s core function. In other words, no official positions on the many conflicts and wars that have been constantly agitating the students and their zeal for a principle of justice of their -choosing. It doesn’t invalidate any of the positions, but it doesn’t validate any other either. The school will avoid judging and its consequences.

It is possible that those of us who are no longer learning from high-level educational institutions will avoid taking sides with the intention of shaking the conflict cup from now on as well. One would expect to see other colleges and universities adopt “the Harvard approach,” not much different from the Montesino Point of View. It will make for pleasant Springs, and it will permit peaceful Commencement exercises where parents, relatives, and friends of graduates will share the joy of reaching what should be the ultimate goal of a student: to get a diploma. Anything else that follows will be strictly part of what we define with a simple word: life.

Get ready for your kids’ graduation. Welcome to its Pomp and Circumstance, whenever that is. And that’s my Point of View today. So Long.

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