Thursday, September 23, 2010

The University of Minnesota 

Attempts to Save Face

On a Botched Censorship Job

From BrauBlog (Minnpost):

"Troubled Waters" premiere reinstated

By David Brauer | Published Thu, Sep 23 2010 4:08 pm 

The U claims its review has taken place, but it sure looks like cave-o-rama to me. From University Relations:

"Troubled Waters" screening to take place as originally scheduled

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (09/23/2010) —The University of Minnesota has announced that the film “Troubled Waters” will be available today. A showing of the film will take place at the Bell Museum on the originally scheduled date of Oct. 3. A discussion of the film will follow the showing.

Professor Susan Weller
, director of the Bell Museum of Natural History, has this week obtained and had an opportunity to review documents that indicate that a review process for the film had taken place. After reviewing this material, Weller has concluded that there is no longer a need for an additional faculty panel to review the film as announced on Sept. 17. The film is being made available today in the form it was in prior to that announcement.

Senior Vice President and Provost Tom Sullivan said today to the University’s Faculty Consultative Committee that the University is pleased with this result, “The Bell Museum and its faculty and staff are well known for their quality productions and educational materials. I look forward to the originally planned release of ‘Troubled Waters.'”

Weller said that together with the viewing of the film, the evening will also include an open forum discussion of the many interesting issues and viewpoints raised by the film. “We are excited by the prospect of hosting a discussion forum of the issues and viewpoints raised by 'Troubled Waters.' It is just this kind of intellectual engagement with our exhibits and productions at the Bell that we believe are exactly what the role of Minnesota’s research University should be.”

The gall of these people, the unvarnished gall.  How about saying, "We're sorry, we really messed this up.  We apologize to the University community for the damage we have done to the reputation of the University by this botched attempt at censorship."

Don't hold your breath.  Being Morrill Hall means never having to say you're sorry...

Added later

Michael McNabb, an attorney and U of M alum, had this to say on the FRPE site:

On September 17 the U of M issues a press release that includes a quote from the director of the Bell Museum that declares the standard procedure of having one researcher oversee a project for "scientific integrity" was not followed for Troubled Waters. Then on September 23 the U of M issues a second press release in which the director of the museum confirms that the required review process had indeed been followed.

So what does the U of M say to the producer and director of Troubled Waters for besmirching their reputations by the previous statements of the director of the museum, the vice president for University Relations, and the dean of the agriculture school? Not a word.

As attorney Joseph Welch said to Senator Joseph McCarthy in June 1954 when McCarthy insinuated that a young lawyer in Welch's firm might be a Communist sympathizer: "Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. . . . You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Michael W. McNabb
University of Minnesota B.A. 1971; J.D. 1974 


No comments: