Thrawn Rickle 63
The Professor and the Cadet
© 2002 Williscroft
|It all started with a simple email.
Air Force Cadet Robert Kurpiel was assigned the job of finding publicity on various campuses for the annual Air Force Academy Assembly. This is a forum hosted annually by the Air Force Academy to bring together Political Science Students from across the nation to discuss issues in the news. This year’s subject was the balance of security and liberty in today’s terrorism driven environment.
Here is Cadet Kurpiel’s email:
I’m not sure how many History Departments and Political Science Departments received this communication, but I suspect the number was quite large.
In particular, one email found its way to the desk of Professor of History Peter Kirstein at St. Xavier University in Chicago, a fine old Catholic Liberal Arts University.
Here is the professor’s unedited email response to Cadet Kurpiel:
As you can imagine, this communication did not go over very well with the Cadet and his colleagues. Within a few hours the professor’s rantings had received worldwide distribution as outraged veterans and serving members of America’s military forwarded these communications to friends and colleagues.
Apparently, St. Xavier University was overwhelmed with email traffic, so that the professor was obliged to do something. Perhaps he was asked to apologize to Cadet Kurpiel. Here is what he wrote to Capt. Borders, who was in charge of the Academy Assembly:
This “apology” did not sit well with the people the professor had offended with his first email. In fact, it seemed to make things even worse. So much so, that the President of St. Xavier placed a personal letter on the University website for all to see and read.
There is insufficient room here to reproduce that letter, but you can find it at the St. Xavier University website.
The worldwide response to that letter prompted more concrete action from St. Xavier.
This letter was the first to shed some reasonable light on the problem, but it still wasn’t sufficient. The University received tens of thousands of letters from around the world, from men and women who took issue with the professor and his high-handed words.
Toward the middle of November, another message appeared on St. Xavier’s website:
So there you have it.
It is important to understand that this is not an issue of academic freedom or freedom of speech. It’s a matter of rational response by concerned parents and citizens to an individual who reveres Carl Marx on his website, teaches a revisionist version of history in his classes where terrorists are heroes and patriots are evil, and who attempts by word and deed to pervert and poison the impressionable young minds of students entrusted to St. Xavier University.
I have taken up the torch to have Professor Kerstein stripped of his professorial rank, and barred forever from teaching anything to anybody anywhere. He has a right to his opinion, but I want it to stop there.
If you are interested in helping in this cause, please contact me for the names and addressed of the members of the Board of Trustees of St, Xavier University. These good people have the power to remove Kerstein forever from being able to influence young people.
Together we can give the academic world a Christmas present that will reach far beyond the bounds of this single incident, setting a precedent that all future campus terrorist wannabees cannot miss: We will no longer tolerate lies, deceit and terror in the name of academic freedom.