Defining ‘courage’ in light of UA’s plight

By Buchtelite Editorial Board

UA President Scott Scarborough’s penultimate slide from Tuesday’s “State of the University” address showed the stoic face of Theodore Roosevelt, one of American history’s most resilient men, along with a quotation of his about courage.

“We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage,” the slide said.

Scarborough went on to say that courage is the most necessary virtue to have in these educationally trying times—when the University is faced with great demographic, financial, and structural issues, requiring unpopular changes that cause indignation and derision.

Indeed, courage is the exact thing that’s needed. But the majority of Scarborough’s justifications for such changes are all in light of what other universities are doing, and what UA, he says, must emulate.

The question must then be asked: Is following others courageous?

Scarborough defers to other universities who’ve embraced the “polytechnic” name as those who will weather the storm and emerge intact. Hence, UA must.

Yet strident opposition from students, alumni, and even the majority of UA faculty suggest that real courage would consist of moving against what is popular, of fortifying the “Akron” in “The University of Akron” through different means than are currently employed, and leaving the school’s 100-plus year namesake untarnished, even if the alternative is merely a tagline.

Perhaps Teddy would approve of that kind of courage.