Letter to the Editor: Free speech and protesting

Mark Crowley

As a parent and benefactor to five state universities in Ohio, I was fascinated by the way Dr. Lester Lefton described — in his poorly veiled French education scolding to my son and his fellow Kent State protesters — the way he believes the world works.

I got over his ironic pouting when I realized, if he simply took his own advice he wouldn’t be fighting off the potential for a viral groundswell to his financial overreach.

“Learning that not everything we want comes easily or instantly – that many of the best things in life are worth striving for and waiting for … ”

Apparently the recent tuition freeze at two and four-year public colleges in Ohio has not taught any lessons to Dr. Lefton and his administrative team about living within their means. One small example — the $2.8 million student green proudly unveiled to the media in Saturday morning’s papers. Is it paid for already? Or is the university counting on the underhanded increase in their tuition?

Because Dr. Lefton thought it a useful tool to shame his wayward students with a book only an erudite would love [c’mon, how many Americans are sitting around reading about how the French raise their children?], I thought I would counter with something that is also obscure, though understandably so.

In “Parliament of Whores” P.J. O’Rourke reminds us, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

I think we can say the same about our public universities. Former Governor James Rhodes had a great vision to provide a college education within easy reach of most Ohioans. But today we see our state schools fighting to maintain their redundant curriculum because they think like Dr. Lefton thinks. Just the raise of tuition, they’ll pay. Dr. Lefton, it’s not a blank check we hand over to you each semester. Stop pretending that it is and manage your finances a little more responsibly.

And when students push back from your audacious moves, compliment them — not scold them — for exercising their critical thinking skills and their right to free speech.


Mark Crowley

Proud Father of KSU protester, Michael