By this time next month I will be an official alumni of Murray State. In the four years I have spent here I have come to love and appreciate my time here. I have friends I will not ever forget and an education that will carry me to a bright future (fingers crossed). The day I graduate will be happy and sad. But some University administrators seem to want it to be more disappointing than anything else.
The announcement of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s commencement is disturbing to this graduating senior. To me Murray State has always been a place where ideas are shared, public education is valued and compromise is not seen as a weakness. By propping McConnell onto the stage in the CFSB center in May the University is refuting those core lessons I have learned here.
Since 2009, McConnell has repeatedly done his best to derail the current Presidential administration, and nothing else. Nothing he has done has benefitted the people of this state or the University.
I do not walk the party line with President Barack Obama, but that is another matter. This is about Mitch. Not the Mitch who consistently votes in favor of corporations over the citizens. Not the Mitch who votes consistently against the environment. And not the Mitch who votes consistently to increase American conflicts overseas.
This is about education.
Why is Murray State inviting a candidate to speak on campus who is voting to cut back the very education this University offers to thousands of students across the region?
In 2006 he voted against funding for key programs like TRIO and GEAR UP. He also voted against increasing Pell Grants to students. In the past he has also voted to expand school voucher programs and currently scores a 20 percent by the National Education Association in his support for Public Schools.
The last time I checked Murray State is still a public school. Rising tuition, costs and campus privatization consistently show how vulnerable public higher education institutions are in this time. We celebrate those hardships by inviting this politician onto our campus.
The few minutes McConnell is given to speak at this year’s graduation will not take away from the experiences and education I have received at this wonderful University. Nothing can take that away. But for the next commencement I would like to see someone who celebrates the hard work and mission of this institution. That is the Murray State I know and will remember. One not ironically tarnished by our senior Senator.
Letter from Guinevere Lewis, senior from Wilmore, Ky.