There’s been quite a bit of controversy on the campus of Syracuse University, generated by an upcoming visit by patriot/blowhard Michael Moore. SU’s choice of speakers has always been interesting and, shall we say, contentious, so Moore isn’t much of a surprise. He’s a hot-button topic right now, independent of his most recent movie – as evidenced by this letter to the Daily Orange from an SU Alumni:

Many years ago, Angela Davis, that radical with obvious anti-American views, was invited to speak on campus. I and many other alums were very voiceful in her selection to speak and showed our distain by NOT making any donations to the university for years to come. She was invited back again last year or the year before and, again we didn’t give. I know SU did suffer from less contributions.

Now to select that new left-wing radical, anti-American, jerk Michael Moore to speak this fall is outrageous. You can argue that many views should be heard by all, but not by someone who is obviously unintelligent, uneducated, obese, with no gratitude on being an American and who cannot take a criticism like most real people. He should not be given any forum, especially if he is paid. Have him submit an article to the D.O.

George Criticos ’64
Rochester, New York

While I respect Mr. Criticos’ right to speak his mind, and regardless of what you feel about Mr. Moore, as a fellow SU Alumni I wish Criticos had given his letter to someone to proofread – especially since he calls Moore “…someone who is obviously unintelligent, uneducated, obese, with no gratitude on being an American and who cannot take a criticism like most real people.” Poor writing aside, I’m not sure what Moore being overweight has to do with his opinions, or when he’s ever failed to show gratitude for being an American. After all, he wouldn’t be able to do what he does without the rights afforded by the Constitution.

I also have to take issue with Mr. Criticos’ decision to “boycott” (tm Michelle) the university by not making a contribution (which, I assume, he would normally make annually) simply because Moore has been asked to speak on campus. I remember similar outrage when Hillary Clinton spoke on campus my sophomore (?) year, and when former Senator Alfonse DeMato was asked to speak at the law school graduation. But to withhold alumni funds because you don’t agree with a speaker on campus is the same as saying you don’t agree with the free and open exchange of ideas on campus – and what the hell is a college campus for, if not the free and open exchange of ideas?

Withholding funds isn’t the answer. If Mr. Criticos is unhappy with Mr. Moore speaking on the SU campus, instead of boycotting he should put his money where his mouth is and assemble funding for a second speaker to provide a counterpoint for Mr. Moore. Support debate, don’t suppress it.