University fight in Nelson nothing new

Star editor Bob Hall gave John Paolozzi a lot of space for his op/ed piece to argue for a university in Nelson.

Re: “A call to bring back a university,” October 31

Star editor Bob Hall gave John Paolozzi a lot of space for his op/ed piece to argue for a university in Nelson. Mr. Hall, you know Nelson’s history. Why did you not educate Mr. Paolozzi about the recent past of our university-restoration society, NUCES? Or refer him to Dr. Arthur Bartsch, who led the cause of university education in Nelson for a couple of decades? Someone is obliged to let Paolozzi know that his ideas need to be grounded in knowledge, not erupt out of his ignorance.

I’m irritated by his piece because it shows ignorance of heroic but unrewarded efforts by so many. For years, I was one of the directors on the board of NUCES trying to restore Notre Dame University and David Thompson University Centre. We worked perseveringly to maintain a non-profit society called Nelson University Centre whose mission was to bring a liberal-arts university back to a city that had twice been robbed of one. Many joined this society from the time David Thompson University Centre closed, and it was still in being until this very year.

Nelson manifested several reasons why a university was not restored here. Apathy, lack of support, and even at times clear hostility to the NUC project, was demonstrated during the 1990s and the past decade. City Hall and Selkirk College did not help; rather the opposite. Bill Bennett alone does not have to carry the blame; many share the unenviable responsibility for the death of our university dream. Mr. Paolozzi, a CBC veteran, shows surprising inability to do basic research: it is clear he knows nothing about our history. I invite Mr. Paolozzi to contact me and get educated.

And as for his vision of our future, of business-as-usual in 20th century capitalist style for an economy driven by the market — my stars, has he not paid attention to how the world is unfolding? I simply cannot stomach the blind denial I keep encountering among people who think change is going to be managed relatively harmlessly by science, technology, and political solutions. Sleepwalking to the abyss…

Charles Jeanes