Stein out, Dean in

The divisions over Ben Stein’s – now rescinded – invitation to speak at the commencement for UVM’s class of 2009 have struck right through the editorial board of The Cynic. We are unable to come to a consensus over whether the choice was good or not, or over who should take blame for the resulting debacle. Some say blame should rest on Fogel, for picking a speaker that was bound to be controversial, while others argue that the reaction to the choice was unfair and not appropriate for a community that values inclusion and freedom of expression. But despite our varying assessments of Stein’s value as a commencement speaker, we can all agree that the choice of Howard Dean is far more appropriate. Whether he can be blamed or not for the turmoil surrounding the commencement, we commend Fogel for responding quickly to the concerns expressed by our community. As former chairman of the Democratic party and one time front runner for the 2004 Democratic nomination, Dean is a highly accomplished and well regarded national figure who embodies the spirit and drive of UVM students, and stands as an example of how far a person can go, even when coming from a tiny and often-disregarded state such as Vermont. And while there are sure to be many people here who do not share Dean’s views whole-heartedly, we feel that his views will be enjoyed far more broadly among the students and faculty here than would have Stein’s. We very much look forward to his speech.