- University of Missouri
- United States of America
Dear MU and University of Missouri System Leadership,
The University of Missouri Health care system’s decision to withdraw “refer and follow” privileges from a doctor authorized to perform medical abortions at the Columbia Planned Parenthood will effectively block access to important, safe and legal health services for women and men in mid-Missouri. The need for these privileges, called “outdated and unnecessary” by the system’s spokesperson, is itself the result of a long-running effort by religious extremists to impose their views on the private healthcare decisions of women and their families. What’s more, this most recent attack is based on deliberately falsified information intended to deceive the public. Beyond that, however, the ability of an ideologically-based legislative committee to intimidate University leadership into backing off from a robust and principled defense of the university’s mission and value to the state has implications beyond women’s health.
Missourians place their faith in MU to promote intellectual discovery, engage in service on matters of community well-being, and support a climate in which scientific evidence, reasoned debate, and respect for diverse opinions find purchase in the minds, hearts and politics of our state. Certain of the legislators hauling the Chancellor before the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life studied at the University of Missouri. Presumably, they benefited from the scholarship that the university supports and were challenged, during their studies, to reflect on a variety of issues highlighted by the current crisis of civil discourse.
In their history courses they likely examined moments in this nation’s past where political expediency, fear and ideology converged to create entities like the Committee on Un-American Activities. They learned what happens when politically motivated individuals seek to suppress scientific evidence deemed threatening to their goals and when scholars and leaders who should know better fail to respond with conviction.
In courses about the American political system and in the school of law, they would have been called upon to review the way that our country allows for differences of opinion on moral questions such as when life begins and understand the systems we put in place to allow diverse voices to be heard when we disagree on those topics. In public health, medicine, nursing, social work and STEM they would have been charged with identifying evidence that can and should be used to inform these decisions (based on principles of ethical research and scientific method) and would have been introduced to concepts such as statistical significance, which help distinguish suspicions and wishes from phenomena that can be verified and tested and evaluated.
Philosophy and psychology continue to offer examples of how human beings behave at their best and their worst, when they are under pressure and when they are not. Beyond science, and law, and history, the humanities show us what we value. Art and literature remind us that courage is mostly required of us in difficult times and always when things of value are at risk. For close to two centuries the citizens of Missouri have relied on the university community to steep its sons and daughters in these questions. The university community, in turn, relies on its leaders to defend that mission when it comes under attack, as it has in the past, as it is currently, and as it will be again. You may be worried about the price associated with standing up to the current bullying. That is no small worry. It is important to remember, however, that there are costs associated with not standing up, as well. The costs to the mission of the university, to its teachers and students, and to the citizens of Missouri go beyond appropriations.
We, the undersigned, request that the MU Leadership provide a robust and principled defense of the university’s mission, which includes supporting and facilitating access to important, safe and legal health services for women and men in mid-Missouri.
The Letter of Principle to MU Leadership petition to University of Missouri was written by Anonymous and is in the category Employment at GoPetition.