PHOTOS: Bush Center Supports Afghan Women

March 31, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Sydney Giesey

The Afghan Bazaar sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, offers crafts made by Afghan women. The bazaar was held in the James M. Collins Executive Education Center on Thursday, March 31. The bazaar is part of the George W. Bush conference that focuses on advancing human rights and economic freedom for Afghan women.

Check out the slideshow from the Afghan Bazaar:

Bush Blog: Video — Reactions from the Groundbreaking Ceremony

November 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Video by Courtney O’Callaghan

Attendees of the George W. Bush Library  groundbreaking provide commentary on their experience.

VIDEO: Reactions from the Groundbreaking Ceremony from on Vimeo.

Bush Blog: Protests Begin On Campus

November 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Photos By Mai Lyn Ngo

Protesters shout "torture is illegal, no statue of limitations on torture." (PHOTO BY MAI LYN NGO / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Protesters are a day early and have begun speaking out against the Bush Library.

A group of about 30 protesters with signs are outside Ford Stadium across from Mockingbird Lane. Some say they have traveled from all over the country to protest.

Boots surround protesters outside of Ford Stadium, representing soldier suicides. (PHOTO BY MAI LYN NGO / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The Daily Update: Monday, Nov. 15

November 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Monday, Nov. 15 from on Vimeo.

A U.S. base in Afghanistan took a big hit when will the U.S. troops be leaving? The George W. Bush Library brakes land tomorrow, we’ll tell you what will be different on campus, and a mustang student and professor are making headlines.

VIDEO: Former President George Bush Signs “Decision Points” at Borders Book Store

November 9, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Aida Ahmed

Bush Book Signing at Borders from on Vimeo.

George W. Bush signed his new book, “Decision Points,” Tuesday morning at the Borders Book Store across from Preston Royal Village, marking the beginning of his book tour.

Hundreds of people waited in line for hours and even camped out the night before to see the former president and get a chance to have him sign their book.

There was rumored to be over 2,400 books to be signed and many were afraid they wouldn’t get in the book store.

Also in attendance was a small group of protestors with signs against water boarding. People in line and driving in their cars shouted for the protestors to go home.

The groundbreaking of the George W. Bush Presidential Library will take place on the SMU campus next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Check back with the Daily Mustang for more coverage next week.

Photos, video and editing by Aida Ahmed

Opinion Blog: Bush Institute Should Start Acting Like a Good Neighbor

April 13, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Brooks Powell

The George W. Bush Presidential Center won’t be complete until 2012. But already SMU students feel like they’re getting the shaft.

All accounts leading up to the announcement that the library and institute would be built at SMU said it would be open and available to everyone. Now, officials with the Institute are backtracking on that claim, specifically for conferences and events. SMU students wishing to attend are out of luck unless they’re willing to chip in a few grand to secure a spot on the invitation list.

James K. Glassman, the 63 year-old executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, told SMU’s Student Senate in March about his vision for the think-tank and how it will relate to the greater SMU community. He enticed those present with details of upcoming conferences held on the SMU campus and around Dallas, many including national and international figures addressing a range of topics.

At the meeting, Glassman introduced Oscar Morales, a Colombian journalist and Bush Institute Fellow. Morales will lead a conference on April 19 on “cyber-dissidents” and political change, highlighting the role of online tools and social media in promoting democracy around the world.

What students listening to Glassman’s rhetoric didn’t know was that he was setting them up for a cruel “gotcha.”

With some prodding, Glassman admitted Bush Institute conferences will be largely invitation-only, adding that “some” SMU students will be allowed to attend. The majority of attendees will be dignitaries, donors and special guests of the Institute.

In other words, unless a student’s bank ledger has a hefty entry labeled “George W. Bush Institute,” he or she shouldn’t count on a spot at one of these conferences. Note that Glassman is also in charge of raising money for the Institute.

Brushing off SMU students is unacceptable given the sacrifices the community has made to welcome the Bush Presidential Library and Institute to campus.

Students and faculty moved out of convenient on-campus housing, which was bulldozed to clear a site for the Bush Center. The University also paid untold sums to holdouts in the University Gardens development to clear more land. With tuition increasing by at least 5 percent each year, all that settlement money could have been used to keep tuition costs down if SMU hadn’t engaged in the quest for the Bush Library in the first place.

But hindsight is 20/20 and the Bush Center will indeed be a fixture at SMU.

Glassman joked to the Student Senate about the Bushes having a 300 year lease on the library building that will be built at the southeastern end of campus.

In the interest of getting this long-term relationship off on the right foot, an about-face is needed, and quickly. With two years until the Bush complex is scheduled to open, there is plenty of time for Glassman and his colleagues to work out how to accommodate more SMU students at the Institute’s conferences and events.

For years, SMU has been a celebrated destination in the southwestern United States for some of the greatest minds from around the world. Clearly, SMU recognizes the value imparted to inquisitive minds by listening to experts, and opportunities for such exposure abound. Just not at the Bush Institute, or at least not yet.

Speaking in his capacity as fundraiser-in-chief, Glassman said donations are on-track for the Bush Center. If that’s so, what harm will opening up a few seats do to the campaign’s momentum? Donors conversing with some exceptionally bright students might get them to donate more money.

If space is a concern, Glassman needn’t look far for a suitably-sized location to host more than just his exclusive audience. SMU has a number of large venues that were designed specifically to hold audiences for presentations and lectures, including several that are brand new.

There truly aren’t any excuses that Glassman and his ilk can defend. Money and space are the only limiting factors, and those are easily resolved. It’s time to open the doors and let students in.

This is a crucial period for the future relationship between SMU and the Bush Center. Hopefully, leaders in the Bush entourage will see the value of including students in the life of the library and institute. Otherwise, one begins to wonder why they chose to affiliate with a university in the first place.

Director of Bush Institute Speaks to Student Senate

March 3, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Brooks Powell

Listen to Glassman’s full address to the Student Senate here.

Executive Director of the Bush Institute James K. Glassman spoke to the Student Senate about the Bush Library, upcoming conferences, and the relationship between the Bush Institute and SMU.

Student Body President Patrick Kobler introduces Executive Director of the Bush Institute James K. Glassman to the Student Senate on Tuesday March 3 (PHOTO BY BROOKS POWELL/SMU DAILY MUSTANG.

James K. Glassman, Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute, emphasized to the SMU Student Senate Tuesday that the once controversial “think-tank” will be strictly non-partisan in its approach to addressing issues domestically and abroad.

Glassman, the former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy during the Bush Administration, said the Institute will focus on the core values of freedom, opportunity, compassion and responsibility. Its programs will address issues related to education, human freedom, economic growth and global health, all without a partisan agenda, Glassman said.

Glassman also noted that women’s issues—a central focus for Mrs. Bush—and social entrepreneurship are two fields that will run throughout each of the Institute’s initiatives.

While the George W. Bush Presidential Center will not be complete until 2013, programs and conferences at the Institute are well underway. The first is a public television broadcast Glassman moderates called “Ideas in Action” – a phrase he said is the unofficial slogan of the Institute. There have been a few tapings of the show already through a production company based in Washington, D.C., Glassman said. The program is broadcast on 74 public television stations throughout the nation, including KERA-TV in Dallas.

Glassman also briefly outlined four upcoming conferences facilitated by the Bush Institute that will be held on the SMU campus.

The first, held March 3 in collaboration with the Simmons School of Education at SMU, focuses on leadership in education and improving student achievement throughout the U.S.

Another conference, the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council Conference on Education and Literacy, held March 19, will include major U.S., Afghan and international figures, including the director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Minister of Women’s Affairs from Afghanistan, and the Women’s Affairs Bureau chief from U.S. State Department. Panelists will discuss how to improve conditions for women and increase literacy throughout Afghanistan.

Glassman also introduced a new colleague, Bush Institute visiting fellow Oscar Morales, a Colombian journalist. Morales was involved in efforts to bring down the FARC, a narcoterrorism group.

Morales, who offices in the Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU, will lead a conference in April on the use of social media in promoting political and social change.

In addition, Glassman said the new Bush facility, located at the southeast corner of campus, will strive to be one of the greenest facilities built on campus to date, and will be “reflective of President Bush’s own style” in its design. Energy efficient novelties include methods for recycling water and photovoltaics to provide electricity. When the facility is complete, building designers hope to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of sustainable building design, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

James Parker, a SMU junior in attendance at the meeting, said he was confident in Glassman’s abilities to lead the Bush Institute and inspire the SMU community.

“I was pretty impressed by all he has done. I feel we are in good hands with these people,” Parker said.

African-American Student Senator Bethany Mackingtee believes the partnership between the Institute and SMU will be beneficial for all involved.

“I think the Institute will bring great things to the SMU campus as well as create a better name [for the university],” she said.

In addition to his role at the Bush Institute, Glassman is also a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank. Prior to coming on with the Bush administration in June 2008, Glassman’s career focused on communication. He is a publishing and media magnate, having founded and led numerous political publications, including Roll Call and The Atlantic Monthly. A graduate of Harvard University, Glassman began his interest in communications as managing editor of the campus paper, The Harvard Crimson.

Glassman is also the author of a book coming out in December 2010.

Student reporter Lola Obamehinti contributed to this story

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Video: UP City Council Continues the Bush Library Debate

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Ruthie Keister

The University Park City Council will continue the public hearing Tuesday about rezoning for a Bush Library parking lot.

Community members are invited to share their feelings about whether or not the Planning and Zoning Committee should rezone residential land to build the lot.

Here is what people told us at the first part of the meeting February 22.
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VIDEO: Mustang Minute, Tuesday Feb. 23

February 23, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Read more

Bush Library “Parking Wars” Will Continue for Another Week

February 23, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Ruthie Keister

The University Park City Council held a public meeting Monday night to discuss a rezoning request for land on SMU Boulevard.

In an effort to begin building the George W.  Bush Library, the Bush Foundation wants the Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone the land north of SMU Boulevard between North Central Expressway and Dublin Street.

With the exception of one man standing in front of city hall with a sign reading “W= War Crimes”, the general consensus at the meeting was pro-George W, just not for his library, or at least the current plan.

Members of the Bush Foundation and opponents each received a 30-minute time frame to make their argument. Community members were then allowed to speak their minds after their respective viewpoint was discussed.

Though it may seem like the issue is turning into a bitter battle between residents of University Park, some say that is not the case.

“It’s not a vote against these friends and neighbors,” said Tina Peyton, a long time UP resident, “but a vote for the future of our city.”

Those who spoke out against the plan for the library were mostly local residents who worry about the increased traffic and safety issues, as well as SMU’s ever-growing campus.

“It represents a continued encroachment by SMU,” said Gigi Welch, who lives close to the area in question on Dyer Street.

Tom Bowen, a Dyer Street resident, agreed.

“Our neighbors’ concerns are that SMU continues to buy property,” he said. When land is adjacent to SMU property the school would continually try to buy it, he argued.

Sharon Fjordbak, who received degrees from both the Cox School of Business and the Dedman School of Law, said the proximity of SMU actually increases home values. She argued that the land will be put to appropriate use.

“SMU will not settle for anything less than the best use for the land,” she said.

The major problem most opponents have with the current plan is that is places a parking lot on the north end of the 45 acres allotted to the project.

As planned, the lot will be several feet below ground with berms separating it from street level and landscaping disguising it, but any parking around the SMU campus is difficult as is.

“Parking has always been a problem in my 72 years of living in University Park,” said Roy Coffee Jr., a former UP mayor.

Though the Foundation sent officials to present their side at the hearing, the opponent’s presentation was led by three community members, all of whom live on Dyer Street just north of the planned parking area.

Kit Case, who began the opponent’s presentation, was also upset by the “encroachment” of SMU on the residential community. He argued that SMU has a way of getting what they want.

“It was almost as if P and Z knew SMU would get what they want,” he said of previous meetings with the UP Planning and Zoning Committee.

Case also cited some statistics, which he said was conducted fairly by the community, about the degree of opposition in the area. “We found out 96 percent of all the residents in this area were against it,” he said of the parking lot.

An alternative offered to eliminate the problem would be to switch the parking lot location with the location of the park, which is set to be built to the south of the library and policy institute.

That is not a viable option though, said Mark Langdale, the Foundation’s president, because it would cause library patrons to drive past the entrance and then walk around the building to get in.

Changing SMU Boulevard into a two-lane road was another option that Christopher Poe, a Dyer Street resident who also has a PhD in transportation engineering, put before council members.

“If they’re not bringing in a lot of traffic, a two-lane should be fine,” he said in regard to claims by Harris and Langdale that the traffic on SMU Boulevard and the surrounding residential streets would not be greatly impacted.

Opponents asked that the Foundation do more research into other options for parking lots, specifically curving SMU Boulevard north, instead of south so that parking could be placed between the street and the building.

The only stipulation is that there must be a 100-foot buffer between the lot and the building for security measures.

Community members who spoke in favor of rezoning argued that the designs have been researched and developed by renowned architects and the current arrangement is the only one that will work out.

Langdale says Robert Stern and Matthew Urbanski, the architects for the buildings and the landscaping respectively, have deep experience in designing institutional buildings.

Because of a misprint of the date of the meeting, City Council president James H. Holmes has decided to keep the meeting open until March 2.  The hearing will then close and the council will render a decision.

Holmes and other council members asked the Foundation to research the options set forth by the opponents before the next meeting and the Foundation agreed.

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