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ERIC Number: EJ788988
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar-7
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Southern Methodist's Bush-Library Deal Mollifies Some Critics, but Doubts Persist about Think Tank
Glenn, David
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n26 pA9 Mar 2008
Southern Methodist University has released the terms of its agreement with the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation to house the president's official library and museum. To some faculty members, the most troubling element of the project is a conservative policy institute that will be affiliated with the library and museum. Unlike similar think tanks and academic units at the presidential libraries of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, the institute created by George W. Bush will not be governed by its host university, but will report only to the Bush foundation. (The library and museum, like all other modern presidential libraries, will be administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, a federal agency.) The contract appears to have satisfied some, but not all of the faculty skeptics. The university and the institute will form an academic advisory committee, with an equal number of members from each party, to oversee concurrent appointments and develop joint projects. However, some continue to feel that provisions that allow the university to make two appointments to the foundation's board of directors and at least one appointment to the policy institute's board of directors are too weak, because the foundation retains the right to reject a particular nominee and to ask the university to try again until it names someone acceptable to the foundation. The agreement stipulates that the university and the foundation will work together to raise $500-million to support the library's construction and to create various endowments. After the first $200-million is raised, 15 percent of any remaining funds will go into a restricted endowment established to underwrite SMU's share of the costs of joint programs conducted with the institute, library, and museum. Faculty members are also anxious about the widespread perception that donations to presidential-library funds are sometimes questionable. A third debate centers onan executive order, signed by President Bush in 2001, that gives presidents and ex-presidents more power to restrict the release of White House documents. Only 11 documents have actually been withheld under the order, but it has reportedly slowed down the processing of historians' requests by six months or more. Part of the executive order was struck down by a federal court, but most of its provisions remain in effect. Although the House of Representatives passed a bill by a wide margin in March 2006 that would rescind the executive order, that measure, too, has been placed on hold in the Senate, where it remains.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas