"I would like to invite you to debate with me, openly and publicly, re: the issue of academic freedom, and the influence of corporate donations to the university."
Gen. Hamilton has replied - rather tersely, but positively:
"Dr Steiner, you have peaked my interest. Mark"
Gen. Hamilton might have picked a better choice of words, but I'm piqued by the possibility that these two distinguished Alaskans, both apparently about to leave our sometimes inadequate, sometimes dynamically impressive university system, might meet, debate and air not only the issues of Steiner's activism, but others as well.
Let's hope Mark and Rick can meet publicly, so we can all have a peek, and that the meeting becomes an opportunity to help Alaskans understand the complexity of accommodating a visionary such as Steiner in an academic environment as stifling as the one Hamilton has had to promote. That would certainly be a peak experience.
You can help Gen. Hamilton report for duty on this by calling or emailing him at his office in Fairbanks.
His office phone number is (907) 450-8000
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is Rick Steiner's challenge to Gen. Hamilton:
President Hamilton –Given recent circumstances, I would like to invite you to debate with me, openly and publicly, re: the issue of academic freedom, and the influence of corporate donations to the university.You have said many things in support of academic freedom over the years, but when push came to shove in my case, you made a decision in opposition to free speech.In 2002, you received an award for your support of academic freedom from a group calling itself the “National Association of Scholars”, who it turns out, actually opposes sustainability movements on today’s college campuses. They say that sustainability is “deceptive, coercive, closed-minded, a pseudo-religion, distorts higher education, shrinks freedom, programs people, is anti-rational, by-passes faculty, and is wasteful.” This group apparently supports free speech only when they agree with what is spoken, and opposes it when they disagree with what is spoken. Apparently this is your position as well. That you chose to accept an award fro this group calls into serious question the progressive character of the University of Alaska.All of this is an extremely serious transgression of the very role a university is supposed to fulfill in civil society.
I look forward to your reply, and to debating this issue publicly and honestly.
Sincerely, Rick Steiner, Professor