Last night I participated in a discussion about the future of higher education at Minot State University alongside Assistant Professor of Education Dan Conn. The event went well – the discussion was lively and fun – and I very much enjoyed myself.
Below, courtesy of Dan who posted it on Facebook, is video of the discussion.
Apparently my presence at this event was the cause of no small amount of consternation on campus. Several people at the event told me that some on campus were upset about my inclusion and had been protesting it. Dan told me that some were urging him not to participate in the event with me. The organizer of the event – Robert Kibler, Professor of English and Chair of the Division of Humanities, Literature and Language at MSU – told me the woman he’d asked to moderate the event pulled out claiming that I was a Nazi, and would bring other Nazis to the event, and that she’d feel unsafe being in the same room with me.
Apparently, per Robert, the woman didn’t feel the venue offered enough exits through which she could “flee” if she felt unsafe.
It is disconcerting to learn someone would feel that way about me, especially when such feelings have no basis in reality. As you can see from the video, the discussion was as pleasant as it was in-depth. At one point a member of the audience said he couldn’t believe that he found himself agreeing with me. Afterward this same man, who works at MSU and described himself as “a liberal” said he agreed with just about everything I said last night.
I’m certain not everyone in the audience felt that way, and that’s fine by me. I hope all in attendance at least found value in the discussion, even if they didn’t ultimately align themselves with my point of view. I am thankful to Robert for standing by his decision to invite me despite the controversy it stoked.