Monday, October 26, 2009

APRN's Talk of Alaska Offers Statewide Opportunity for Hamilton-Steiner Debate

I. Alaska Public Radio's Steve Heimel, producer of the award-winning program Talk of Alaska, has informed me that he has opened up the November 3rd slot on TofA for any possibility of a debate or discussion that involves University of Alaska President Gen. Mark Hamilton and University of Alaska Fairbanks Associate Professor Rick Steiner.

Steiner has invited Hamilton to "debate with me, openly and publicly, re: the issue of academic freedom, and the influence of corporate donations to the university."

Hamilton in an email to Steiner Sunday, wrote, in response to Steiner's debate invitation, "Dr Steiner, you have peaked my interest. Mark."

What Hamilton meant, until we know more, is debatable. But you can encourage him to accept APRN's generous offer, by calling his office at (907) 450-8000, or by emailing him at

II. Should Gen. Hamilton refuse to debate Steiner on this, either at the APRN venue, or elsewhere, or should he simply refuse to acknowledge any of the interest in this issue, Progressive Alaska and others will probably try to organize a statewide and national effort to try to get the National Association of Scholars to rescind the 2002 award they bestowed upon Gen. Hamilton for promoting so-called "Academic Freedom."


Mel said...

It's also kinda scary that Pres. Hamilton has the wrong spelling here: one's interest is not "peaked" but "piqued." (Unless, I guess, one is interested in climbing Denali or Everest.)

I remember Hamilton making a statement about academic & intellectual freedom during the controversy between UAA Creative Writing prof Linda McCarriston & Diane Benson several years ago. But it seems that academic/intellectual freedom falls by the wayside as soon as it involves corporate megabucks. Thus is it demonstrated that the University of Alaska system, as much else in Alaska, continues to be under the thumb of Big Oil.

Anonymous said...

I am no fan of President Hamilton, and I am a great fan of Mr. Steiner's contributions over the years to the health of our marine environment. But I am not sure that denying a formal grievance from an employee should be conflated with betraying the principle of academic freedom. Until I could review the entire record, I would be reluctant to make that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Tier 1 knuckle dragger, I think he also pushed out the dynamic UAA Chancellor who left quickly. Why fight Tier 1'ers? just move