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By Tim Marshall on 26.2.2024

University Protests at Siting of George Bush’s Library

With less than a year until the end of his presidency time was running out for George W. Bush to find a home for his presidential library, the word used in a broad sense to include assorted paraphernalia such as photographs or audio recordings that relate to the former president’s life and career.

However it was announced this week that in keeping with tradition, it is to be housed in Bush’s home state of Texas, in the Southern Methodist University of Dallas after a unanimous decision by the board of trustees. Although the library, museum and institute are to be run separately from the University by a foundation, there is still a great deal of concern from academics within the university about being so closely associated with the ideology of the Bush administration.

The controversy lies particularly with the independent institute that will fund research promoting Bush’s ideas and vision, such as “fighting terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy” in the words of the president himself.

Opponents of the project cite the president’s policies on wealth and war as being in direct contradiction to the principles of United Methodist teaching on which the university was founded in 1911. They are also strongly against a caveat that allows the president more control over presidential papers which they fear could lead to a “censored-library.” The Rev Andrew J Weaver, who is a pastor at the university, had said that “the fight is not over” and that “It will be David versus Goliath, but David won the first time.”

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