Lone prof fights Obama Library at Univ of Chicago
The Chicago Sun-Times documents a lone professor, Charles Lipson's, fight against siting a proposed Obama library and museum on the University of Chicago campus. He argues that the university has a long standing policy of not taking political positions, and siting the institution there would inevitably clash with that policy.
Proponents of placing the Obama library at the University of Chicago argue it's premature to discuss the issue; presumably it will be premature until the siting there is a fait accompli.
Update: Charles Lipson explians further:
Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times article about the Obama Library is largely accurate, though it misses one point I tried to emphasize. The "library" (or federal repository for official papers) is perfectly appropriate for any serious university. A "celebratory museum" (and its associated foundation) is not. The public conflates the two and refers to them both as the Presidential library.
I strongly oppose a university-affiliated Presidential Museum because it would inevitably do what ALL of them do:
(1) permanently celebrate the honoree's Presidency as its main purpose,
(2) avoid serious criticism,
(3) sponsor conferences designed to burnish his record and advance his political agenda,
(4) hire his top aides, and
(5) provide the former President himself a high-profile home, from which he will engage in future political initiatives.
Those purposes are simply inconsistent with the University of Chicago's deep commitment to disinterested scholarly inquiry. Frankly, they should be inconsistent with any university's.
Some Presidential museums, such as Bill Clinton's and Ronald Reagan's, are not affiliated with universities. I think that is more appropriate, at least for my university, than those like George W. Bush's, which do have a formal university affiliation.