Thursday, April 12, 2007

Letter to the William and Mary BOV - let Gene Nichol go!

Dear William and Mary BOV, Gene Nichol - as fine a man as he must be in many ways seems to have an agenda for the ultra-left, to eliminate American traditions at universities that are out there - may have harmed The College of William and Mary by his unilateral and isolated decision based on "his" agenda fortified by little or no real world cause. He may have harmed The College and he has thrown the students, alumni, and concerned citizens across the planet - literally - into camps against each other. That technique seems to be a ploy of the left - create the crisis and then posture in developing a solution. It is sad that it has occurred - sad for everyone including Mr. Nichol. The Board of Visitors (BOV) can send a breeze of fresh air across the campus and a message to students and alumni alike that we - the students and graduates of the "Alma Mater of a Nation" - when all is said and done stand together. Nichol is only one man in the long and proud history and traditions of the nation's second oldest institution of higher learning. Even though the students, alumni, and faculty went at it because of this unwarranted assault against our integrity and our traditions, we are the students, the alumni, and the concerned citizens. The Board of Visitors will be meeting soon to decide on the renewal of Nichol's contract. Gene Nichol does not seem to be a good fit nor does he seem to be a good representative of The College of William and Mary. He seems to have mired The College in controversy; he seems to have set about ridding The College of any symbols of faith that sustained those early settlers who fought bitter winters to build a town and eventually a college; then he passed the buck to the students and allowed the Sex Workers Art Show featuring prostitutes and other "sex" workers most interestingly demonstrating their trade. Fine for them, but is there an official Sex Workers Curriculum offered at The College? And then 100 students were required to attend the Sex Workers Show! And Nichol pled non-interference in the intellectual pursuits of the college. Please! We'll never know how many prospective students - dripping in diversity of thought if not skin color - have turned their backs on The College but you can get them back. Do the right thing. An Alum


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This letter is uninformed and in bad taste. President Nichol has done nothing to "harm the school;" in fact, he has made it better in every way imaginable. Alumni do not see the work he does on campus. They see his controversial stances on important issues and use these decisions to attack him. We, the current students, adore President Nichol. We are the ones who will be hurt and dissatisfied if the BOV decides to "let him go," and it is a shame that we do not have a greater say considering we are the ones currently attending this school.
President Nichol did not require students to attend the Sex Workers Show. He merely said that, although he himself did not support it, he could not stop it from coming to our campus because that would be against the 1st Amendment. As a Christian, I do not particularly support the show either, but I did not feel remotely threatened by having it on my campus. If my friends and neighbors would like to see it, fine. This does not mean that I have to see it or even hear about it.
And prospective students would never turn their backs on the school because of President Nichol. If anything, the opposite would happen! As a Tribe Ambassador, I talk to prospective students on a daily basis, and I know for a fact that my fellow Tribe Ambassadors have nothing but positive stories to share about our President. At my high school, where my graduating class was merely 70 people, I never once had a conversation with the Headmaster. However, at this large university, I have conversed with President Nichol on many occasions. He ate dinner with my freshman hall in our dorm. When I brought a group of seven 8th graders from the Horizons Program to campus to show them what a wonderful goal college can be to aspire to, he met us for lunch. It wasn't an earth-shattering group of students who were going to change the world. It was seven 13 year olds who may never even graduate high school. But President Nichol cared about them, and he did all he could to encourage them to view education as the most important goal to aspire to in young life.
It is absolutely incorrect to call President Nichol as mistake. The students have never adored a President more. The peaceful rally last night at the BOV meeting demonstrated just how many dedicated followers President Nichol had, and we will not be pleased if you "let him go."
I became a part of this wonderful school the same year as President Nichol's inaguration. The idea of having to spend another year here without President Nichol makes me sick. You don't know this man the way we do, and you have no right to comment on what should or should not happen to him.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Thank you for your letter. As a tax payuer in Virginia, as a graduate from The College of William and Mary as a graduate student and as one who fought amog many colleage to "Save the Wren Cross" - I have every right. My person traditions and history are steeped in this region.

And as students of The College of William and Maty - past and present - you and I have the right to express our views and respect each other.

I hope you have a good academic experience at The College of William and Mary - it will become a matter of pride and honor and accomplishment.

The prestige of The College of William and Mary has - in the past - such that when I wen to apply to a major university for a Ph.D., all of my couse work from The College was accepted.

Although you and I can agree to disagree, I am an alum and you will soon be my colleague. One of the strenths as I remeber it of The College was that we did not have to march "lock step". Open discussion of ideas based on foundations of theory and such, not unsupportable emotionalism ruled the day.

Cherish your opportunity; don't miss a chance to learn something new...

8:04 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

As an alumnus (twice, once for graduate work and once for undergraduate) and speaking from the perspective of an individual who has worked with two president's of our fine university, I am forced to disagree with your comments.

While I do not approve the manner in which President Nichol enacted his changes in the policy of the Wren Chapel, I do approve of the spirit in which they were enacted. I think it is important to remember several things in regards to this issue:

1. The "Wren Cross" is not a piece of history. It is a recent addition to the chapel, donated from a nearby church (of which I was a member). The "historical precedent" argument put forth by so many is entirely false.

2. The cross was easily accessible by any wishing to use it, more so than it is now following the committee's choice of displaying it off to the side in a case.

3. Though a very important historical building, the chapel is also a currently functioning portion of a state academic institution; the very same institution that educated many of our nation's early leaders. These men went on to espouse ideas of separation of church and state, and Gene Nichol has acted accordingly.

On the note of the Sex Worker's Art Show, I am proud of Gene Nichol's restraint on this issue. He does not personally approve of the show (nor do I, or many students). The decision to bring the show to campus (twice) was made by the student assembly. The SA controls the student fee money and spends it on behalf of the students. While it may have been in President Nichol's power to prevent the show from coming to campus, to do so would contradict the spirit in which the SA was founded. If you don't like the Sex Worker's Art Show, talk to Zach Pilchen or Ryan Scofield or any SA Senator. Do not blame President Nichol for following a system of student freedom upon which our university is now based, and for which many students fought.

As I have said, I worked with President Nichol personally, though briefly, and I am deeply troubled our loss. More troubling are alumni such as yourself who do not have the mental acuity (or have not taken the time to employ that acuity) to fully examine this issue, and who instead resort to inaccurate media reports. It is a dark day in the history of our beloved alma mater. The loud, angry minority has struck a deep and hard blow against the virtues that our institution represents.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Chris, thank you for your excellent points. I have to say that I was in very good company in our efforts. The good news is that we all love our alma mater. I believe The College of William and Mary can weather the storm. Among those virtues our institution represents is the virtue held within the freedom to disagree with each other.

From my position, Nichol initiated a "crisis" which need not have ever been. It was the "crisis" that he generated that was designed to strike at our virtues and indeed he was successful. Nichol started the "crisis" then stepped back to do the classic liberal or even more extreme ploy of creating a "committee" to solve the "crisis" he generated. Classic far-left liberal methodology in addition to ripping away at tradition.

If one is to be troubled, perhaps one should look to the "sex shows" permitted on campus. From your approval of such use of student fees, you seem to imply that any such degrading shows the leaders of the student group want to advance using fees from "all" students is acceptable - regardless of the offense it might cause to other students. Not so... The College of William and Mary at one time had a good name for honor and integrity married to good taste and class.

And in this age of "sensitivity" to the female gender, it seems blatantly sexist and degrading for the students to condone such exploitation. But then that's just one doctor's opinion.

I believe the discussions, the debate in the Wren Chapel, the raising of issues among the students, the alumni, and others was healthy for the students. The bonds of attachment we have as graduates from The College of William and Mary surpass the fleeting hubris of man. It is such an honor to have graduated from The College and to be in such good company.

Again, thank you for your comments. We can both be assured that our college will survive and flourish.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

You're funny, though I imagine you weren't trying to be.

As a fellow conservative I'm a little embarrassed by your poor arguements.

I personally do not condone the sex shows; however, I absolutely believe in the process that was used to determine whether or not they should be on campus.

The choice was made by the students. Not all the students wanted them on the campus (myself included) and we voiced our opinions loudly.

The primary purpose of the SA was to remove power from the administrators and place it in the hands of the students. It coincides with the ideology of self-determination. We as W&M students have the right (and now responsibility) of determining how our collegiate experience should proceed.

It cannot be said that Gene Nichol "allowed" the sex show to come to campus. It was not his decision. This particular issue is completely irrelevant to his performance as President. If you cannot grasp the concept of student responsibility, then perhaps you should point a finger at the student affairs administrators who are more directly involved in such proceedings.

If you wish to debate the merits of the sex show, you're looking in the wrong direction, as I couldn't agree with you more on all fronts. However, please refrain from attacking President Nichol. If it truly bothers you (as you so vehemently claim) perhaps its time to intelligently exercise your voice and being writing letters to the SA.

Though you proudly proclaim that "The College of William and Mary at one time had a good name for honor and integrity married to good taste and class" you do not seem to have any concept of what that statement actually means.

Again, I respectfully suggest that before you go shooting of your mouth, you make an attempt to educate yourself on the issues.

Oh, and as for your statement "I believe the discussions, the debate in the Wren Chapel, the raising of issues among the students, the alumni, and others was healthy for the students," I think perhaps you're right. Hopefully, the students and alumni will learn to not trust to politicians and schemers to make their decisions in the future.

As someone who has spent his entire life involved with the College, I am truly saddened and disgusted by the way our BOV has conducted itself.

I fully agree that we are both lucky to have attended the College.
I am glad you have faith that the BOV will begin to conduct itself in a manner befitting their station. Only time will tell, but I know that both the students and alumni of our university will not stand idly by while politics destroys her heart.

Thanks for your response.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Chris, I aim to please and thanks for the "compliment".

I'm with you regarding the destruction "politics" can cause throughout a college community.

Glad you got a chuckle. :)

8:59 AM  

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