Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Greg Patterson is the wrong choice to lead our universities

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor and Senator Steve Gallardo released the following statements on Governor Brewer’s selection of Greg Patterson to serve on the Arizona Board of Regents.

Sen. Landrum Taylor
Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor:

“I am respectfully but deeply disappointed with the governor's choice for the Board of Regents. Appointing a man who is known for propagating partisan rhetoric and eviscerating and belittling those who disagree with him is not the caliber of person Arizona needs to lead our universities.

“In his essay The Purpose of Education, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, ‘To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.’

“Through his blog, Mr. Patterson has risen to be Arizona's premier perpetrator of this ‘morass of propaganda’ to which Dr. King referred. The Board of Regents is no place for such a person.

“Mr. Patterson has stated that degrees such as psychology, history, religious studies, political science, English literature and journalism are ‘uneconomic’ and make no sense to be taught in our universities.

“To quote again from Dr. King, whose contribution to our nation Mr. Patterson refused to recognize, ‘The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.’

“Mr. Patterson wrote on his blog that college students shouldn't bother striving and achieving academically, saying, ‘while one or two of you may become Rhodes Scholars or CEOs, some of you will also become homeless or go to prison.’

“Appointing Greg Patterson sends the wrong message to our college students and to Arizona children who aspire one day to obtain a higher education. Arizona's universities serve all of our people and reflect the many faces of our great state - every economic background, every ethnic background, every age, gender and ability.

“The Board of Regents has never adequately reflected those faces, but would take a damaging step backward by replacing Regent Ernest Calderon with Mr. Patterson.

“Our investment in our universities - as mandated in our constitution - is an investment in our future and a bet on our success. As Dr. King recognized, our future depends on recognizing the opportunity and potential inherent in all of our people.

This nominee doesn't do that, not because I say so, but because he has said so.”

Sen. Gallardo
Senator Steve Gallardo:

“The Board of Regents is a prestigious and important post, not to mention one of the longest appointments in our state. Eight years. That's even longer than the time Governor Brewer will have been in office when she's done.

“Greg Patterson is just flat out the wrong choice for this position.

“Mr. Patterson's online tirades have been widely reported and it's no secret that he revels in playing a role in the partisan politics that have divided our state. What hasn't been reported is the fact that in 1991, as a freshman legislator, Mr. Patterson was one of only 11 representatives who voted against sending the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to Arizona voters. That referendum was approved by Arizona voters by a more than 3 to 1 margin.

“He was an out-of-touch extreme conservative then and he still is today.

“Right now there are even more in power who share Mr. Patterson's ideologies than there was then - and we can see what that's given us. Arizona is known nationally as the state of Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas. We are the state that is turning back the clock on the rights of women, minorities, working families and children.

“Is that the direction we want to take our state's universities? Because with the appointments of Jay Heiler and now Greg Patterson, it appears that is exactly what Governor Brewer wants.”

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