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Message from the President: Summer 2018

Proof in the Patina

President Michael Driscoll

The headline “Campus Lawyers’ Deepest Fear: the Protest or Tweet That Spins into a Free-Speech Crisis” caught my eye in a recent edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. The article covered proceedings of the National Association of College and University Attorneys’ annual meeting, during which a panel discussion examined case studies of free-speech fracases. The speakers provided their audience with tactful and reasoned advice for university presidents in such situations.

Indeed, campuses across the country have become battlegrounds for issues related to the First Amendment; you’ll find in these pages a story about our own encounters last semester. No university president welcomes controversy to campus, but as a public university, IUP is obligated to uphold the tenets of the First Amendment, regardless of the offending rhetoric’s flavor at any given time.

Our job is to set higher expectations, even in times when many seem to disagree about what it means to be an American. We cannot control what comes out of people’s mouths. We cannot prevent people from stretching the truth. What we can do is teach our students how to navigate life’s challenges with civility and within our nation’s laws, and that should be the measure of our mettle and our worth.     

This edition of the magazine also carries exciting news about IUP’s future, as noted on the cover.

The Imagine Unlimited campaign will ensure our students have access to outstanding, intentional experiences. We want them to reach beyond the comfortable norms of the typical college education and to tackle challenges that occur in the classroom, in the residence hall, and in the community. Every new experience creates and polishes a patina that proves our students are critical thinkers who can solve problems, who don’t shrink at the moment of conflict, and who are prepared to lead.

I am most grateful for the confidence our campaign leadership and lead donors have expressed in our ability to do right by our students and the communities and workplaces they’ll eventually champion, as well as the world we serve.  

Michael Driscoll