Over the past couple of days, I've received numerous emails, phone calls and have seen quite a bit of local coverage regarding Hamilton College's invitation to Ward Churchill to speak on a panel. Ward Churchill's recent statements comparing the victims of the 9/11 attacks to Nazi's and that the victims could be "blamed" caused a national controversy and upset many New Yorkers, victims' families and Jews, including myself. I'm also an alumna of the college and distraught that this is the second time this month that college would tarnish it's reputation with such careless management. The college sent out "special emails" to alums regarding the situation and has cancelled the lecture due to officials receiving "death threats." Frankly, I know that Hamilton is most concerned with losing donations from alums and our class president in the past has urged us to not give money when the school makes such poor decisions.
I have fond memories of my Hamilton years and am more than satisfied with the complete liberal arts education that I received. My former academic advisor and mentor actually directs the Kirkland Project which has been responsible for inviting these controversial speakers. I am conflicted because she taught me to wholeheartedly voice my opinions, to not be afraid to ask questions and to believe in my own accomplishments in order to become a successful independent female presence. A much needed liberal voice during my undergraduate years, she now seems to have cloudy business judgment from spending over twenty years in am ultra-conservative academic environment.
Coincidentally, I was out of work during the 9/11 attacks and was getting ready for a job interview at the WTC at 9:30AM that very morning. Also, I am still paying off my Hamilton College student loans.