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Grand Rapids Press

 

 

 

  Here is an essay written by a former professor about the expulsion. We have broken into several parts due to length.            Part I (Intro)  Part II (Legality)  Part III (Background)  Part IV (Expulsion) Part V (Nye/Baker letter) Part VI (Faculty meeting) Part VII (Fruitless appeal)  Part VIII (Deans Attack) Part IX (Conclusion)

Please direct any comments to the HLO and they will be forwarded to the author.

Mark Nehls Speaks:  

We were contacted by Mark Nehls, the editor of the now-defunct "Hillsdale Spectator" (copies of which may still be obtained from Volume 1 Books, we've heard). The Spectator was an alternative newspaper, but it soon shut down after the school expelled Nehls. Here is his rationale for starting the Spectator:

The main reason for the Spectator's existence was my belief in the Hillsdale Vision, a belief that survived within the vacuum of the College's alleged efforts to enact that vision. This was a matter of pointing out that the emperor had no clothes, not a matter of left-wing versus right-wing politics. That is why I coined the term "Establishment Correctness". George Roche and Mark Nehls claimed the same politically conservative, Western Civilization -oriented beliefs. The difference is that I rather consistently acted on what I believed. George did whatever he had to do to protect his perception of power and influence, irrespective of anyone's views on the role of the federal government. Any critics of George became critics of conservatism, motherhood, apple pie, and God himself. They were not "Establishment Correct," a state that is subtly but significantly different from Political Correctness. (At the time, the term "Politically Correct" was too fresh to be found lowercase in most common dictionaries.)

I find that the strange bedfellows of George Roche and political liberals who glory in Hillsdale's troubles would both wish to paint Mark Nehls as the best friend of Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda. Unfortunately for George and liberals, this characterization is simply not true. Frederick Bastiat, the French writer I discovered at Hillsdale College, best expresses my lifelong political philosophy: essentially, that government does a worse job than individuals at solving life's difficulties, and so therefore, government should confine it's deficient efforts to protecting each individual's life, liberty, and property. If my beliefs have changed in any way over my brief life so far, they have become more "libertarian", in that I find positive cultural change has more lasting effect and less negative consequences when it happens on a private and spiritual rather than a legislative or otherwise political level.

You could call my dismissal a free speech issue. However, even if there were no instances of censorship at the Collegian, the very idea of a "student" newspaper, "advised" by the administration (Carol-Ann Barker, directed by Father George) and funded by a student "government" that answered to the administration was repellant to my free market sensibilities. I came to a campus that preached free enterprise, hell, it housed the Ludwig von Mises Library. I expected a microcosm of vibrant market activity at Hillsdale, not a sewer of spineless sycophants, fearful of any reality outside the cocoon created by George Roche. To my dismay, I found no bustle of private delivery companies competing in the traffic of free thought. I discovered only the US Postal Service, which delivered only approved thought. The very idea of a Federal Express was scandalous, even revolutionary.

Bottom line, I believed in the Hillsdale Vision. I noticed that Hillsdale didn't practice it. So I continued to practice it, if with a higher profile, by founding, publishing, and editing the first truly student newspaper for Hillsdale College. The Hillsdale Spectator didn't belong in the coat pocket of the administration. It survived only on the earned advertising revenue solicited within the free market, outside the swamp of "government" subsidies. (In case it's not evident, I considered the administration and the Student Federation to be the equivalent of "government" within the microcosm of Hillsdale College.) And as I pointed out the deficit between the College and the Vision, the College chose to protect their Establishment at the expense of the Vision. I stuck with the Vision and paid the consequences.

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