Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In Face Of Protestors, Schlafly Stands Firm...Is Wash U. Drinking The Purple Stuff???

Media Credit: Courtesy of WUSTL Photo Services
Phyllis Schlafly

In Face Of Protestors, Schlafly Stands Firm - @Press

Letter Of Protest From The One And Only Sis. Conscientious Crutch Addressed To Chancellor Wrighton:
Subject: Letter to Chancellor Wrighton RE: Phyllis Schlafly
May 12, 2008

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton
Washington University in St. Louis
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

Dear Chancellor Wrighton:
I write today, in solidarity with thousands of others, to express my disappointment in the decision to confer an honorary degree on Phyllis Schlafly at this year's 147th commencement. Undoubtedly, Mrs. Schlafly's controversial political positions and unsubstantiated rhetoric are at the root of this public outcry. However, it is important to also question the process by which Washington University arrived at the decision to include her in the slate of honorary degree recipients. By what criteria are candidates judged and deemed worthy of this highest honor? Are these criteria related to the mission and values of the academic institution? Surely, there are hundreds of far lesser-known Washington University graduates or St. Louis natives that have accomplishments far greater than actively working against equality for women and other marginalized populations.

Since graduating I have moved to Washington, DC to work for the United States Congress. I currently serve as the Deputy Director of Member Services for the House Democratic Caucus, chaired by United States Representative Rahm Emanuel (IL-05). I work directly with the new Members of Congress. Washington University has a significant alum network in the DC area and enjoys a highly esteemed reputation. Although I am a fairly recent graduate of the University, the Class of 2003, I am a proud alumna and have stayed involved through the John B. Ervin Scholars program and just attended my 5th year reunion. Additionally, I have made significant monetary contributions, given my salary, to the University. I can only imagine how giving an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly might tarnish Washington University ’s image, especially as it embarks on a ten-year capital campaign to improve its national rankings.

I would ask that the University rescind its invitation to Mrs. Schlafly immediately. Further, this incident should be used as an opportunity to bring full transparency to future selection processes for honorary degree recipients. With greater transparency, Washington University can demonstrate to alumni and others that it desires an active relationship, beyond mere financial transactions. Should the University proceed without regard for its students, professors, administrators, and alumni, I definitely will reconsider future contributions.


Adria F. Crutchfield A.B. in Architecture, Class of 2003

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