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Washington University awarded an honorary doctorate to Phyllis Schlafly. Immediately after the announcement, opponents demanded that it be rescinded. At the awards ceremony, some students and faculty wore arm bands and turned their backs on her and the stage in protest. The event was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Riverfront Times, and KWMU.
Mrs. Schlafly is a controversial individual. She championed against the Equal Rights Amendment, has written 20 books, and edits The Eagle Forum, a highly conservative newsletter. I have read a number of her Eagle Forum editorials and heard her give a talk recently. I agree with some things she has said and written, disagree with many others, and have found her position on the religions of the world to be narrow minded and parochial. However, she has added to the public debate on many important national and political issues. For this reason, she should have been so recognized by her alma mater, Washington University. As Washington University Trustee Margaret Bush Wilson, the eminent civil rights attorney, said when she introduced Mrs. Schlafly to the audience, "Vigorous, free-flowing debate is the cornerstone of our American life. One of this countryís virtues is that people donít have to agree with one another."
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.