This letter was written by Keith and Marie Stutterheim.
Letter to the Editors:
We noted your article reporting the formal visit of the Hungarian president to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. The college’s invitation was disturbing. This “active head of state” represents white nationalistic government policies.
“Hospitality” to a visitor is one thing, but a red carpet reception is another. This head of state was greeted with “fanfare from the band and cheer team and greeted by President Stephen Minnis, the football team, several student organizations and faculty members.” All promoted as an historic moment as Minnis presented the Hungarian head of state with the St. John Paul II Distinguished Speaker award. The college’s red carpet rational: it’s web site reports that Hungary has a pro-family centered government (though it still allows legal abortion), and that their government offers three years of parental leave, student loan forgiveness to mothers, and offers any mother that has four or more children to be released from income tax for life (to encourage increased births due to their very restrictive immigration policy). But this is not the full reality.
The dark complicated side to this red carpet visit: Hungary’s slide toward authoritarianism with a prime minister who is blatantly public about its white supremacy values. Replying to a student’s negativity, the head of state visitor downplayed this international image.
Students have a right to be disturbed. They should not be diminished or misled. The Benedictine College president owes a formal apology to black/brown/or any minority students. They represent approximately twenty-five percent of the student body.
Personally, we believe that the administration’s invitation to the Hungarian government head of state was a serious lapse of judgment. White nationalism has no place in our American way of life.
(Keith and Marie Stutterheim of Weston, MO).