The University of Chicago is embroiled in a campus-wide debate regarding whether or not to bring Barack Obama’s presidential library to its campus. Though the president was once a senior law lecturer at U. of C., the dispute is causing a divide among the faculty.
Charles Lipson, a Political Science professor, opposes his campus advocating a political stance.
“I want to raise the alarm because I think a presidential museum will inevitably become our university’s highest-profile institution on a national basis,” Lipson told the Sun-Times. “It will not be a disinterested, scholarly institution. It will be advancing a political agenda, funded by President Obama’s political allies, including foreign donors who cannot give money to his presidential campaigns.”
Lipson offered examples of other presidential libraries across the U.S. serving as political staging grounds for that president’s party. These included the Reagan Library in California, the Kennedy Library in Boston and the Carter Library in Atlanta.
In 2009, however, the Chicago university proclaimed tentative interest in hosting Obama's library, the president Robert Zimmer, telling Bloomberg News the school was, "trying to understand the situation."
“The faculty, as near as I can tell, is divided. Hopefully, Obama will have another four years, and we won’t have to deal with this for at least five. I worry that if we get too obvious about disagreement here at the University of Chicago, it will wind up in Hawaii. I wouldn’t want to poison the well by having the discussion before its time,” biology Professor Michael LaBarbera who serves on the faculty executive council said.
Hawaii has already passed a law in the state legislature to build Obama's library at The University of Hawaii. Obama is originally from Honolulu and his sibling and mother attended the University of Hawaii.