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Follow-up - Delegate Fisher's letter to college president

Delegate Mark Fisher

Editor's note

Hollywood, MD - In following up the recent stories regarding the controversy created by activist Linda Sarsour's lecture at St. Mary's College of Maryland, her payment for the lecture and the awarding of recognition for being a participant in the Margaret Brent lecture series, here is Delegate Mark Fisher's letter to SMCM President Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan. The letter is dated Nov. 11.

Dear Dr. Jordan,

Thank you for your email responses to my questions concerning Linda Sarsour. I believe my emails articulate reasoned and principled concerns.

Please know that I appreciate and honor the position that you hold. To that end, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide my concerns in greater detail.

This brings me to the BDS movement that Ms. Sarsour supports and promotes. The BDS movement seeks the destruction of Israel. BDS is, by its very objective, anti-Semitic. The movement seeks to undermine and overthrow the only Democracy in the Middle East, the State of Israel. In fact, the Governor of Maryland signed an Executive Order on October 23, 2017, concerning BDS. The Executive Order is strongly supported by two of my Colleagues from Montgomery County, both of whom are Democrats. Moreover, it has broad bipartisan support in the General Assembly. The same individuals will likely sponsor legislation in 2018 that expands upon the Executive Order. I intend to cosponsor their legislation.

Here’s a link to the governor's executive order

Ms. Sarsour has every right to speak at the College. However, the College did not offer an alternative speaker to rebut Ms. Sarsour’s remarks, both past and present. In fact, the College patently endorsed Ms. Sarsour, as witnessed by the prestigious award given, not to mention the payment to her of $3,500.00. Paying Ms. Sarsour with taxpayer dollars is highly inappropriate. The $3,500.00 payment is in violation of the Governor’s Executive Order, or, at the very least, in violation of the spirit of the values established therein. 

As you know, higher education is supposed to develop “critical thinking skills.” Critical thinking skills cannot be developed unless students are exposed to all points of view, including views with which they disagree. This means that students should be exposed to views and opinions that challenge their core beliefs and long-held views. Increasingly, this is not happening on college campuses. Free speech and diversity of thought is discouraged by many colleges, especially if it’s expressed by conservatives.

As always, I appreciate your responses to my requests. Civil dialogue is essential to the preservation of our republic. I trust that moving forward, St. Mary’s College of Maryland will sponsor a prominent conservative speaker each year, just as the college sponsors progressive speakers.
Sincerely,
Mark N. Fisher
Chair, Calvert County Delegation

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