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Carl Becker is Rolling in His Grave

Because I tend to be interested in such things, I recently found myself on the website for the Carl Becker House on West Campus. And what should I find, but a rather nice seal with a rather incorrect phrase on it:

You see, Carl Becker never said 'Freedom with Responsibility'. Hunter Rawlings did. Carl Becker always said that Cornell embodied 'Freedom and Responsibility'. While some may not see the difference, there is a rather important distinction made between the and and the with -- while the later is derivative and supplementary, the former is complementary and allows both ideals to stand on their own.

You may say we nitpick, but we happen to like Carl Becker and integrity in our history. Perhaps it takes a full reading of Becker's text to fully appreciate the meaning of the phrase.

Unfortunately, it only gets worse. Not only is the seal proudly boasting the wrong quote, but there is apparently a big stone plaque at the entrance to the House that espouses 'Freedom with Responsibility' and not the correct phrase.

Good grief.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on September 03, 2008 (#)

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