Response: Paul Broun at GC
On Oct. 17, I attended a “town hall meeting” with Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun.
Based on an announcement on the university website, I assumed that we could ask Broun questions. He has made highly controversial statements not just about modern science (statements widely circulated over the Internet, where he claimed that the Big Bang Theory and evolution came “from the pit of hell”), but he has also grossly distorted the history of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, as reported by the Huffington Post in 2008.
The town hall produced no meaningful dialogue (though there were gasps in the rear seats when Representative Broun said English should be the country’s official language, a curious thing to hear on a campus “internationalizing” itself). Congressman Broun answered five questions posed by five students selected in advance by people unknown. He spent the last five minutes answering two questions from audience members.
Broun, of course, may say things others will not agree with. However, an event described as a “town hall meeting” and promised to be “a dialogue with Congressman Broun” (as noted on the university website) should have allowed more questions from the audience. The “dialogue” was scripted, dubiously promoted, and a complete waste of my time.
Due to Congressman Broun’s notoriety in the media, this “town hall meeting” will damage Georgia College’s aspirations for wider recognition. The Internet will mock an institution striving to excel in the arts and sciences. I urge that in the future that if such controversial speakers are invited to campus to speak, that members of the university community be given the chance to respond.