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Continued: Oct. 10: About-face: Tutu gets St. Thomas invite

  • Article by: JEFF SHELMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 22, 2007 - 8:01 PM

St. Thomas student body president Carl Mickman was pleased with Dease's decision.

"It showed a lot of character on [Dease's] part and I think ... a lot of people were happy with the decision," he said.

Stephanie Edquist, editor of the student newspaper, said the decision was essential to preserve the university's reputation. Most students and faculty wanted Tutu to speak, and donors and alumni "were feeling so appalled they were threatening to withdraw their connections to the university," she said.

In his letter, Dease also said that the school will hold a forum to discuss issues in the Middle East, cosponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The hope is that Tutu will participate.

"All the parties involved learned something," said Steve Hunegs, executive director of the community relations council. "We should make it clear ... that we are strong supporters of free speech on Middle East issues and all other important issues. That's even more important in context of Archbishop Tutu, who is a great champion of civil rights."

Staff writers Sally Williams and Randy Furst contributed to this report. Jeff Shelman • 612-673-7478

Jeff Shelman • jshelman@startribune.com

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