President’s Spring Forum: LB’s Greg Hamann talks importance of community college, diversity, and more

Taking a break from the pollen and allergies that filled the air, a handful of students and faculty met in Forum room 104 for LB President Greg Hamann’s termly address on Tuesday, April 24.

During the president’s spring address, Hamann brought up topics such as diversity, the importance of community colleges, freedom of expression, civil discourse, and a host of other topics. He also opened the floor to questions, comments, and discussion about each topic.

He opened the forum by addressing President Donald Trump’s recent comments about community colleges and their importance.

“I don’t know what that means, a community college. Call it vocational and technical. People know what that means. They don’t know what a community college means,’’ said Trump in a March 29 rally in Ohio.

Hamann wanted to make sure he made it perfectly clear the importance of community colleges.

“It concerns me. I continue to believe that our [LBCC’s] mission is much broader than the utility that education can play in getting a job,” said Hamann.

“I think that’s important… In a blog post a while back I quoted Neil Postman when he said that ‘Education at its best should be a preparation for life and not just a preparation for making a living.’ They may be related, maybe you need to make a living to have a good life but the thing that we hope certainly for ourselves and for our students is probably something more.”

He emphasized that he was not trying to discount the importance of vocational institutions; he was merely trying to point out the importance of community colleges as well. One audience member made the point of looking at the word vocation by itself to see it as a calling.

The president then went on to speak about the importance of freedom of expression on campus.

“We don’t want the life of the mind to be limited by politics or money. We want to be a place in which our students have personal opinions and life orientations and that we’re embracing those, not just tolerant of them. I’m not a big fan of that word,” said Hamann.

“Curiosity. What we can learn from each other. And I think our freedom of expression policy reflects that curiosity.”

Hamman continued by explaining why he believes diversity helps community.

“I would suggest that one of the best reasons for diversity and inclusion is that it makes us all better people. It makes us a better community,” said Hamann.

“It makes us move and think better, more ethically, and so I want to continue to work on that.”

He brought up the recent renovations of the Activities Center and the plan and budget on future building endeavors at LB. Hamann also encouraged the audience to keep bugging the administration about the process of seismic retrofitting for earthquake safety.

After a brief session of questions, Hamann concluded by thanking the audience.

“Thank you for spending this time with me. I really appreciate it.”

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