I certainly couldn't mention Arizona State's snub of President Barack Obama, without giving attention to Notre Dame's invitation to the president to give their commencement address AND to award him an honorary doctorate.
It was the subject of more than a little controversy.
The president's position on abortion rights was seen as a violation of the sacred teachings and values of the Catholic Church. And one can certainly respect the position of those who have honest disagreement with Mr. Obama and their venerated institution's selection of him as their speaker. There were some indeed who vehemently protested and dissented, as was their right.
But views upon the President's role in this commencement were apparently not unanimous...
"One Catholic leader, Archbishop Raymond Burke, accused Obama of pushing an anti-life, anti-family agenda. Burke, the first American to lead the Vatican supreme court, said Friday it was "a scandal" that Notre Dame had invited Obama to speak..."
"Yet polling and other evidence shows that Catholic voters have a largely positive view of the president, closely tracking other national polling. Obama's standing is more evidence that U.S. Catholics don't always follow the Church hierarchy, whether on issues such as abortion and contraception or political preferences. Also, the president's community service background and his opposition to the Iraq war appeal to some Catholics."
But this post isn't meant to deal with either the pro-choice or anti-abortion agenda.
Colleges and universities truly educate their students by exposing them to a broad range of issues across ideological spectra, and, while in all but the most egregious cases, do so without demonizing those who hold differing points of view. It is the intellectual 'safe haven' in which it is safe to learn something other than what you have always thought or known. To be introduced to, here about, or even hear from those who believe differently, is not to adopt their views or even sanction their perspective.
Real education happens when you learn more about what you believe because through exposure to thoughts different from your own - and from that informed vantage point decide whether your beliefs are worth holding on to.
Notre Dame, in my opinion, violated no standard, theological, ideological or otherwise. They upheld their highest standard as an academic institution of higher learning: to cherish informed debate as a tool of education thereby showing that no one is truly developed intellectually if all they ever hear are confirmations of what they are already predisposed to believe.