We write a lot about principals and college administrators who don’t seem to appreciate the value of a free and vigorous student press, so it’s nice to write about one who does — Abilene Christian University President Phil Schubert.
Last week, the editorial board of the school’s student newspaper, The Optimist, endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term. The endorsement sparked debate on the newspaper’s website, where some wondered whether the endorsement was at odds with the school’s Christian mission.
Sunday in the Abilene Reporter-News, Schubert publicly defended the paper’s right to publish its endorsement:
Abilene Christian University does not endorse political candidates or parties, so some people reacted with surprise when our student newspaper, the Optimist, recently endorsed a presidential candidate.
That provides a great opportunity for me to explain what ACU does endorse: making sure our students receive an education that prepares them to make real choices and engage in independent thought about important issues.
… It would be easy to shy away from diverse opinions about difficult subjects, but in so doing, we would remove from our students the opportunity to practice — in a safe environment — for the challenges and experiences that will shape them into these kind of people.
Well said. For more wise words, read Schubert’s entire column.