Letter: Temple alumnus questions President Richard Englert’s response to Marc Lamont Hill controversy

As an Alumnus who has spoken at Temple student recruitment events, and who continues to keep Temple on his personal radar screen, I have been following the recent and ongoing developments concerning Prof. Marc Lamont Hill.

Having taught at the university level for more than 2 decades, I have no particular objection to Marc Lamont Hill (or any other university faculty member) speaking his mind on his own time and on his own dime, even if, as in the instant matter, I vehemently disagree with the substance of his remarks.

My concern is whether Temple has a double standard.

Suppose, for example, that a Temple faculty member would publicly state, on his/her own time and dime, that (A) there was never any slavery in America (the so-called “slavery” has actually been a scam by the black people to evade taxes and cheat the welfare system); (B) the American Indians are a culturally-inferior group who could not even invent the wheel; and/or (C) the Eiffel Tower should be bombed to the ground as recompense for the French duplicity against America during and after World War II.

Would President Englert merely issue a disclaimer statement, similar to the one he has just issued regarding Prof. Hill, supporting Hill’s right to free expression while insisting that Temple “will always be a place where divergent points of view will find a home,” or would that faculty member who dared express his or her divergent point of view also find a pink slip in his pay envelope (or the cyberequivalent thereof)?  I like to hope for the former but fear the latter.

Having always considered diversity to be one of Temple’s key strengths, I hope that Temple will be able to evenhandedly tolerate, nay, welcome, the safe and respectful expression of divergent points of view by all members of the Temple community.

Kenneth H. Ryesky is a 1977 Business Administration alumnus. He can be reached at kenneth.ryesky@gmail.com

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