Posted September 29, 2012
Dr silber was my nemisis: the darth vader to my luke skywalker, the voldermort to my harry potter and the authoritarian university president to my anti apartheid and free speech college self. There has been a great disturbance in the Force and I find myself surprising deeply moved by the loss of dr silber.
Yes, he tried to expel me from the dorms and then from the university itself for a simple yet charged act of hanging a series of “divest” banners from my dorm window.
Yes, he did set the bu police to spy on us protestors. Howard zinn and other faculty had reason to believe their offices were bugged. He zapped me real good at senior breakfast in a carefully crafted trap, into which I stepped. During my two week hunger strike, he brazingly told the daily free press I was having a temper tantrum and that he hoped I died. And when 30 students took over mugar library one night and refused to leave past midnight closing hours–police and tv camera outside–he stuck to the amnesty deal brokered by bu hillel rabbi joseph pollack.
He rarely tasted defeat during his tenure but I handed him his most celebrated loss prior to his narrow miss for the massachusetts governorship.
He loved the intellectual tussle. He loved people who showed as much chutzpah and courage and conviction as he. He was infuriated when he couldn’t get his own way on his own campus, which was almost never. But deep inside he knew he was giving me and others the best education of our lifetimes, in and out of the class room.
And thanks to his over-stepping of boundaries by trying to evict his most persistent campus critic during the mid 1980s, the precedent set in abramowitz vs boston university stands to this day, providing free speech rights to individuals at all private institutions.
And when we kicked butt in abramowitz et al vs boston university, dr silber didn’t contest the verdict nor appeal it. Instead, he wrote a letter of recommendation for me to law school. Classy.
May he rest in peace and his memory be a blessing.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from orange