Opinion | Springer not ideal choice for esteemed series
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 03:09
Monday evening the Miami University Lecture Series hosted media personality Jerry Springer, starting the 2012-2013 series of speakers.
Although advertised as “Media Manipulation from the Master Manipulator” and the role media plays in society, Springer’s talk took a turn toward politics and chiefly focused on how a liberal path is important. He addressed the significance of a liberal path for the country, the war on the middle class and privileges of the wealthy.
The Miami Student editorial board feels that, party lines aside, this speech was not appropriate for something as esteemed as the Lecture Series. We believe that this series should bring in speakers who will challenge viewpoints, open minds to new ideas and enrich education. From what we gather, Springer’s speech missed the mark. Students from both ends of the political spectrum expressed discontent with Springer’s speech.
Springer was brought in by the university to discuss the media’s influence and role in society today. While the Lecture Series board obviously can neither control nor direct what a speaker may say, Springer took an unnecessary deviation from the advertised topic.
Springer is a very influential person in media and has many different life experiences to talk about. While he did not talk about the advertised topic of discussion, he could have chosen many of his other experiences that would have been fascinating.
One of the boards’ main concerns, however, was Springer’s selection as the opening speaker of the series.
While we acknowledge that Springer is a well-known and influential person in the world of entertainment, he is not the type of speaker that should be upholding the standards of Miami’s Lecture Series.
The speakers who are brought in for these events should be based more on intellect and focused on academia, not on celebrity status. It seemed as though the Lecture Series Committee was going for celebrity over quality and focused on flash over substance with the inclusion of Springer as a guest speaker.
In the past Miami has had many other notable and popular speakers, who were also able to contribute thought provoking ideas and promote students to actively engage in discussion. Past speakers such as Condoleezza Rice, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Nye and the Dalai Lama were all “big name” speakers but discussed topics that encouraged students to broaden their minds.
Though we need to push the envelope and some boundaries with the speakers that are chosen, we need to focus on someone who can broaden student’s minds, introduce them to new ideas and engage them in serious thought and discussion.
The university should uphold the standards of the lecture series and speakers to introduce critical thinking both in and outside of academia, and remember that these lectures should have an enriching purpose for all those who attend.
We believe that, over the years, the Lecture Series has been a huge success and a great benefit to students. One less-than-perfect speaker is not a reason to disregard the entire series; it is simply an opportunity for the committee to learn. We encourage the committee to remember this when selecting the Lecture Series speakers for next year.