I used to think that intolerance of diverse political and social thought was confined to left-leaning college campuses such as UC Berkeley.
As a Cuban-American and UM alumnus, I am saddened to hear that such intolerance has now reached the University of Miami, specifically the Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS).
How can it be that former director Jaime Suchlicki resigned primarily because he objected to partnerships and exchanges with Cuban educational institutions? Does it make any sense that an organization that seeks to learn about Cuba also avoids interaction with Cubans on the island?
Who can favor eliminating such exchanges except for a small group of Cuban-American hardliners who won’t admit that isolating Cuba and the Cuban people has produced dismal results? President Frenk appeasing these hardliners is yet another example of university administrators failing to support the ideals of free speech and association that form the core of our society and educational system.
The long road to a free and prosperous Cuba begins with opening minds on both sides of the Florida Straits. Cuban students and educators need exposure to the vigorous critical thinking that is the hallmark of the American university system. American students would benefit from knowing that daily life in Cuba is very far from the idealized world portrayed by Castro apologists in the media and entertainment business.
In the end, we all lose by not following through with the proposed exchanges with Cuban universities. The Suchlicki affair embarrassed me as a Cuban-American and alumnus of the University of Miami.
Ignacio Sosa is a graduate of the Class of 1978 who majored in finance.
Photo courtesy Pixabay user dassel.