Letter to the Editor: Alumnus Responds to President Landgraf’s DACA Statement

President Landgraf:

I am a proud alumnus of Washington College.  In 2007, I was the captain of the basketball team and received the Department of Business Management Award given to a graduate who showed outstanding qualities of scholarship, character, and leadership.  I planned on being a member of the 1782 Society indefinitely.  My brother was also a graduate (2012) and former employee of the college.  This email from you was quite surprising to read.  Please accept this response as my resignation from the 1782 Society.  As long as Washington College as an institution is taking political positions and not respecting the rule of law, the college will no longer receive my financial contributions.

The founding fathers, including President George Washington and especially his Vice President John Adams, believed in and fought for “a government of laws, and not of men.”  I sincerely hope that WC, as an institution of higher learning, is teaching its students that Congress is responsible for legislation.  The executive branch is responsible for carrying out and enforcing the rule of law.  This separation of powers helps protect against the consolidation of power.  Is the political science department teaching students that Congress is unnecessary just because Mr. Landgraf feels “no need to argue over consensus?”

History has shown us, time and again, that consolidation of power, disrespect for the rule of law, and silencing ideas of opposition leads to poor outcomes for the common man.  This rule of law allows our government institutions to be respected.  These institutions have contributed to the United States of America enjoying prosperity and appreciation for human rights the likes of which the world has never before seen.

WC is essentially questioning my “moral compass” for agreeing with the separation of power between branches of government.  The institution is also implying I do not have the “cardinal directions of compassion, courage, inclusion, and action.”  As a Christian, a businessman, a community volunteer, a leader, and an alumnus I find this to be insulting.  Each member of the staff and every student at WC is welcome to support any political position he or she chooses.  When the College itself starts taking political positions, this is unacceptable to me as an alumnus.

People of all backgrounds and political persuasions can debate the proper legislative solution for “Dreamers,” but if WC and its President is not going to support the rule of law; what is the point of changing the law?  This itself is the problem with having a government of men, not laws.  Although you may agree with the opinions of one president, and wish for that person to yield great power to “fix” the current problems, what happens when that power is then passed to the successor?  And then the next successor, ad infinitum.  The wisdom of separation of power is that no man can create the laws and no man is above the law.

The College should absolutely be advancing initiatives to support freedom and a diversity of opinions.  I did not vote for President Trump, but my opinion is that Congress should legislate and people should follow the rule of law enforced by the executive branch.  Please let me know when WC decides that this opinion is no longer lacking a moral compass and is welcomed back into the WC community.  Until that day, I will skip WC in my annual giving.

Joe Breslin ‘07

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