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Bush speech sparks "uproar"

President Bush's plan to speak to graduates at Miami Dade College next month has seeingly met with little opposition. Not so at Saint Vincent College, a Benedictine liberal arts school in Iraq war critic Rep. John Murtha's Pennsylvania congressional district.

According to today's Washington Post, Murtha, the school's commencement speaker in 1983, is the second cousin of former Saint Vincent president John F. Murtha, who ran the school from 1985 to 1995. Its current president is Jim Towey, a former Florida social services director who ran President Bush's office of faith-based initiatives.

Towey, who said in a press release that the invitation to Bush was not an "endorsement of his policies or politics," is meeting with the senior class tonight, the Post reports, "and there will be an 'open mike' town hall meeting on April 17 for all 1,600 students to opine."

The faculty, however, has voted 41to 30 to uphold the invitation.

Towey, who worked in former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles's administration, noted that other invitees to the school, "in addition to Murtha, have included former House speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill and William F. Buckley Jr."


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Scott, Class '92

Jim Towey fails to mention that the townhall meeting was called *after* the invitation had been accepted by Bush and after the petition had been sent to himself, Archabbot Nowicki and President Bush. Calling the meeting was spin control. Does anyone really think the opinions expressed in this meeting will affect anything?

It is a continual amazement to those of us who are against Bush's speaking at SVC that anyone would believe that his policies are not being tacitly endorsed by the school. Towey was on his staff. His blog is replete with picutres of him and Bush. Are we to believe that Towey showcases his connection to Bush as a marketing tool only? (If that is the case, one wonders how President Bush would feel about being used so egregiously.)

A 41 to 30 vote signifies that many of the faculty are not behind the decision to invite. It is not difficult to imagine that most of the "yea" votes came from faculty in the conservative McKenna School.

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