The King's College Didn't Deserve Interregnum This Year

This article is part of an Opinion series on the Interregnum theme of Compassion

Photo from House of Churchill Twitter

Photo from House of Churchill Twitter

Disclaimer: What should be fairly obvious, yet nevertheless requires saying, is that this opinion does not apply to every student at The King’s College and thus the reader ought not assume this is about them. However, I would encourage everyone reading this to do some severe self-analysis (as I myself have done this week) to determine if on some level this article applies to them, rather than internally saying, “This isn’t about me,” and turning their focus to the speck in their classmates’ eyes.

That being said, we, The King’s College, didn’t deserve Interregnum this year. In my time at this school, Interregnum has focused on themes that were lofty ideas of which the pros and cons were worth examining: ambition had as much negativity surrounding it as positivity while equality was something we ought to strive for but required very little in practice. This year was different.

When it came time for Dr. Olasky to speak to our student body, many spent the hour publicly and privately slandering him.

Dr. Marvin Olasky was the provost of The King’s College from June 2007 to November 2010, a piece of trivia I didn’t learn until his introduction at Evening Lecture. The same year as his departure, Dinesh D’Souza became president of our school. In subsequent interviews, Dr. Olasky suggested that D’Souza’s hiring influenced his decision to leave. I like to think that Dr. Olasky was ahead of his time in recognizing what a foolish and regrettable mistake The King’s College made in welcoming D’Souza to the college. That being said, it is an extreme understatement to say that the school Dr. Olasky left is not the same school he addressed the first night of Interregnum. There are, however, some similarities—a significant one being the relationships he has with faculty and staff that have been with King’s since his time as provost.

In the capacity of that position, Dr. Olasky not only knew many people who work for the school now, but in fact hired many as well. Below is a non-exhaustive list of faculty and staff who have been at King’s since before or during Dr. Olasky’s time here (listed alphabetically):

  • Vice President Eric Bennett,

  • Dr. Henry Bleattler,

  • Dr. Anthony Bradley,

  • Executive Vice President Brian Brenberg,

  • Dr. Ethan Campbell,

  • Dr. Robert Carle,

  • Dr. David Corbin,

  • Professor Dawn Fotopulos,

  • Professor Jennifer Hiett,

  • Dr. David Innes,

  • Dr. Peter Kreeft,

  • David Leedy,

  • Dr. Joseph Loconte,

  • Christina Rogers,

  • Dr. Stephen Salyers,

  • Vice President Frank Torino,

  • Dr. David Tubbs,

  • Professor Alissa Wilkinson.

While each may not have had close relationships with Dr. Olasky, and even less may have actually been hired by him, they each worked hard for our school at the same time that he did. Yet, when it came time for Dr. Olasky to speak to our student body, many spent the hour publicly and privately slandering him. Sure, he doesn’t work here anymore. Most of us will likely never meet him in person. But each of us can look at the list above and find at least one name that we respect, admire, and have gone to for academic or personal advice. Those are the names of people who, while perhaps not personally offended, we should have the courtesy not to disrespect by directly insulting their former colleague.

We ought to have respect for everyone, despite any other factors, by virtue of the fact that they are people, the same as each of us.

But let’s excuse the fact that Dr. Olasky has a personal connection to The King’s College. We ought to have enough decency as people to demonstrate respect for anyone that has agreed to speak to our school. We ought to have enough decency to respect people who have never heard of our school. We ought to have respect for everyone, despite any other factors, by virtue of the fact that they are people, the same as each of us. We ought to practice the simple lesson we have been taught since we were children that we can disagree with someone without attacking them personally. No matter how any student felt in regard to the opinions Dr. Olasky expressed during his lecture, he did not deserve the behavior he witnessed that night.

I won’t directly quote any of the things that I read or heard throughout Interregnum. There are certainly examples people could pull from things I wrote or said that I shouldn’t have. But each of you reading this knows what you’ve written, said, or done just as I know what I have written, said, and done. Instead, perhaps we can all strive to do better. Not just for the four days of Interregnum XV, whatever theme it may have, but rather going forward. Because frankly, the behavior of our student body last week was undeserving of such a significant theme as compassion.

The opinions reflected in this OpEd are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, faculty and students of The King's College