Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Surrender or be Sued: SIU Gives Up U.S. Grant Papers

In the past several years, Southern Illinois University has been a muckraker's dream. One scandal after another involving: speech zones, religious freedom, plagiarism, sexual harassment, and more.

When SIU fights a case, it generally loses (witness the 7th Circuit Court decision on religious freedom or the DOJ consent decree on racial nondiscrimination).

In other cases, SIU surrenders to avoid further embarassment or legal prosecution. With such a track record, there is a lot to learn in crisis management. Alas, the university lurches from one faux-pas after another like a computer program looping from one error message to another. Call it the long, slow "Blue Screen of Death."

The latest surrender involves General Ulysses S. Grant, the warrior-turned-president who pummeled the Confederacy and later sent the U.S. Army to quell the Ku Klux Klan. Today, SIU surrendered the General's papers to an academic institution in the heart of Dixie, Mississippi State University.

In its own small way, SIU has relinquished a historical remnant of that Union victory over secession and slavery. Transferred from the "free soil" of Illinois, Ulysses S. Grant will rest in Mississippi, now free in part because of his actions. Mississippi's gain is SIU's loss.

Rest in peace, General.


Anonymous said...

What a remarkable screed.Mississippi is pilloried for its actions during Reconstruction in the 1870s. And Grant, who ran one of the most corrupt administrations in American history, is portrayed as turning over in his grave with the transfer of his papers to the wicked south. In this view there is a solid state universe, unchanging and unmovable. It is Illinois that is virtuous and Mississippi that is vile and low. One doesn't have the time and energy to refute these sorts of contemptuous attacks. But at the end of the day it was Illinois, not Mississippi, that fired John Simon on PC grounds of sexual harassment. It was Illinois and not Mississippi that made sure that Simon was disgraced. And it was the Board of the Grant Association led by the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court that transferred the papers to Mississippi State.How this set of transactions can be attributed in some way to the putative venality of Mississippi is beyond comprehension.

i-History said...

Yup, we aim to screed.

Seriously, it is Southern ILLINOIS to blame, simply noting the _irony_ of the whole tragedy, not a Reconstruction of the Grant years (pun intended).

Old Man Winter said...

Mississippi, in yet more historical ironies, was the home to Conferderate President Jefferson Davis as well as, some 99 years after Galena, Illinois own General Grant began laying siege to Richmond, the "sovereign state" where Michael Schwerner, Michael Goodman and James Cheney, Jr. were murdered for their attempts to register black people to vote. A third irony: these "Freedom Summer" volunteers were killed in a town named Philadelphia (whose linguistic Greek origins, of course, offers still a fourth irony). SIUC perhaps should take wry note of the events that it has brought upon itself.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad day for SIUC and it is a shame that Mississippi a state that refused to celebrate the 4th of July for years and considered Lincoln a traitor and cheered his death, that was personally responsible for refusing to prosecute the deaths of many African Americans and its own law enforcement officers murdered civil rights workers would now have the Grant Papers, it makes me sick. thanks a lot SIUC

Faculty Member 666 said...

I assume you posted this before the senate seat representing the "free soil" of Illinois was put up for sale for $500,000!

If the politically correct stooges who run SIU today had been around in the slave era they would have been more interested in prohibiting carnal relationships between master and slave than in advocating freedom.