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Still Learning: When Blogging Leaves a Bad Taste

Posted Oct 23 2008 2:10pm

Here in New Hampshire we have a Governor (John Lynch) who has been helpful to us in higher education by trying to push some more resources in our direction.  This in a state that ranks dead last in the nation in contributions to higher education.  We also happen to rank last in the US in contributions to our public schools.  So, we salute our Governor for, well, at least trying.

But, a number of us on campus were upset about a few of his recent actions including:

1. Reappointing a Director of Ports who made a series of awful racist remarks and 2. Asking for an investigation by the University system Board of Trustees in to the academic activities of University of New Hampshire professor William Woodward, after a story broke that he had been a member of a 9/11 "Truth Committee" that investigates conspiracy theories about the WTC attacks.

My head was spinning.  "Say it ain't so, Governor!"  Failing to stand up against hate?  Forgetting the basic principles of academic freedom?  So, when the Governor arrived on campus about a week ago, I grabbed my hand held digital recorder, and decided to do what any blogger would do....

You can hear the results below.  First, I spoke with the Governor following his remarks for the press and those attending in favor of State Senate candidate Molly Kelly:

Download govcomments.WMA

And, you can listen to Molly Kelly's much less political and much more honest response:

Download KellyComments.WMA

My reflection:  Holding up a microphone to the Governor created a negative atmosphere which lead to scripted content-less responses.  I should have left the digital recorder in the office and had a private chat with the Governor where I expressed my concern and asked for his thoughts.  Instead, I was left feeling like I had only put the Governor on the defensive and made no progress in getting him to talk about the complexities of dealing with hate (the Ports Director) and Academic Freedom (the Woodward affair).  My bad.

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