Hamline? I thought the 'mission' at Hamline University was to educate - not to inculcate.''
The answer to all of Emmer’s questions is simply, “No.” and to his statement on the university’s mission they are fulfilling just fine without him. The fact of the matter is that Tom Emmer would bring very little to Hamline’s robust academic community in terms of scholarly work or expertise. Instead, he would bring a lot of liability. During the 2010 midterm election cycle a contribution from Target Corporation to a pro-Emmer Political Action Committee made national news several times for the backlash it caused to the company from consumers. For a small, private college in St. Paul, Minnesota, looking to attract a diversity of students from across the country, hiring a controversial political figure is probably not the best way to attract potential students.
While Emmer was candidate for governor his budget plan included reducing higher education funding. Many of our students, including myself, receive state grants which would have been at risk of greater funding cuts leaving students to bear a larger financial burden. Regardless of a professor’s political beliefs it is important that they value higher education; this includes understanding the importance of adequate funding for institutions and students.
Between supporting cuts in funding for higher education and support for restrictive voter laws that would negatively impact college students, it’s clear that Tom Emmer doesn’t value quality, affordable higher education or even young people’s right to participate in our political process.
Emmer has set himself up as a lightning rod for hot button social issues and is a mouthpiece for social conservatives. That’s fine for talk radio and cable news networks, but there is no place for that in an academic community.
Written by Natalie Cook
MPIRG Board Chair and Senior at Hamline University
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen