SMU officials, other educators diverge on how Bush policy center will affect school





For its 1999 graduation address, Southern Methodist University tapped a Texas governor riding bipartisan goodwill to record popularity.

"His growing national stature will enable our students to be a part of history in the making," school President R. Gerald Turner said.

Two terms of rough-hewn history later, SMU's recent agreement to house the George W. Bush Presidential Library and policy institute has thrust the school into a national spotlight not seen since a football scandal stained its reputation in the late 1980s.

It also has posed an open question: How will the university's image be affected in the hyper-competitive, left-leaning world of higher education, with its ever-escalating battles for faculty, students and money?

Many around the country who are critical of the Bush administration, including some with close historical ties to the school, believe it is a risky association for SMU.

At issue, most detractors say, is not the library, to be operated by National Archives and Records Administration, but a planned independent policy institute intended to forward the president's vision and values.


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