Friday, April 14, 2006

OSU Mansfield goes nuts

Via Instapundit, Ace of Spades:

Scott Savage, reference librarian for OSU Mansfield, is being investigated for sexual harassment on the basis of his recommendations for required reading for the incoming freshman class.

The books?

* The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian
* The Professors by David Horowitz
* Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’or
* It Takes a Family by Senator Rick Santorum

These recommendations apparently came after he expressed the opinion that recommendations made by others were too polarizing (and largely leftist), and recommended Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. His recommendation was not welcome; some committee members felt that earlier recommendations were not polarizing, others that the point of the exercise was to challenge conventional wisdon (and hence, apparently, that some polarization was appropriate).

The Alliance Defence Fund has taken the case, and delivered this rather terse message to The Ohio State University administration on March 28, requesting that they cease and desist any investigation into sexual harassment charges by March 31. OSU declined to do so.

Based on the emails copied in the initial cease and desist request, it appears that the situation quickly morphed from an argument over the scholarship of the books to one involving academic orthodoxy and the right of the librarian to recommend books containing the authors' views. Accusations of homophobia flew freely (of course).

The main point of contention is The Marketing of Evil, the review of which contains this statement:

Few people realize...that the 'gay rights' movement—which transformed America's former view of homosexuals as self-destructive human beings into their current status as victims and cultural heroes—faithfully followed an in-depth, phased plan laid out by professional Harvard-trained marketers.

The recommendation leaked out of the committee, and an associate English Professor, J.F. Buckley, sent a series of (as I read them) hysterical emails to the faculty, in which he explained (among other things) that he "as a gay man, no longer felt at ease to use the library or teach in a manner that tries diligently to engage every perspective - save that of the bigot."

[Incidentally, according to his bio, Buckley authored non-polarizing works such as "Desire, The Self, The Social Critic: The Rise of Queer Performance Within the Demise of Transcendentalism and articles on sexual orientation in Hemingway and Melville", none of which I have read. Alas.]

This, and the librarian's subsequent defense of the choice, was enough to trigger a unanimous faculty vote to file sexual harassment charges against Savage. (Charges were actually filed by individuals, not by the faculty as a whole).

The entire episode is a disaster for the school. It stinks of censorship, makes OSU-Mansfield look like a pit of liberal lunacy, reinforces the stereotype of gays as pathetic whiners, trivializes legitimate sexual harassment, and speaks very poorly of the ability of these "educated" people to work out their differences in an adult manner.

Any insight that Flares' legal experts can provide into the case would be appreciated, and if I've misstated or misrepresented anything above, please let me know.


brylun said...

Michelle Malkin points out another example of the left's intolerance for speech.

Adam Smith's "marketplace of ideas" cannot be tolerated by the left because their ideas cannot win in that marketplace. So the only alternative is to shut down speech that is contrary to their beliefs.

After all, the left views the rest of us as too stupid to understand.

truepeers said...

Morgan, what do you mean by a unanimous faculty vote - a unanimous committee vote? If you mean the whole faculty is part of this lynch mob, it is hardly correct to say this incident is a disaster for the school. If they've all gone completely loopy the only hope for the school is that it be exposed and forced to change.

There is very little real education available in the human sciences today, just one Gnostic monstrosity after another. This is the real disaster and if it is allowed to continue under cover of grudging tolerance for the occasional heretic, like this librarian, being imposed on the faculty by outside criticism, that might be the real disaster. Let the loony bin destroy itself, there really isn't that much of value left to lose. If this happens, the marketplace will quickly evolve alternatives.

Morgan said...


According to the ADF's cease and desist request:

" the routine faculty meeting, several faculty members...made a motion to file formal charges against [Mr. Savage]. The faculty unanimously passed the motion... Two days later the faculty met again and rescinded the motion (due to confusion as to whether the faculty had the authority to pass the original motion), but instructed the complaining professors to notify OSU's sexual harassment officer individually."

Maybe you're right that this isn't a disaster for the school. The existence of the conditions that allow this to happen is the underlying problem. That it did happen is only a symptom.

Looking for a cure.

truepeers said...

Well, i don't know how exactly the cure is going to come, but i wouldn't be surprised if in a generation from now conservatives were dominant or at least very much in the ascendant in universities. I just don't see any intellectual future for the left, anything that will hold attentions for long (whatever the passing appeal, to many youngsters, of hysterical sacrificial rites, like scapegoating the wingnut librarian). So I envision a continuing death spiral for the left that will lead to both a renewed liberalism and a strengthened conservatism, unless, that is, the left continue to press and are successful in making an alliance with Islam, in which case the library would probably become less gay friendly, though perhaps the universities would somehow survive in a market niche, becoming bastions of gay-positive Islam for a while, on the model of organizations like this.

Rick Ballard said...

"makes OSU-Mansfield look like a pit of liberal lunacy"

The real problem lies in the fact that these illiberal creeps are devaluing the degrees of everyone at the school who is taking a liberal arts major. Who needs a new hire from an institution that does this kind of thing?

In the end, that's probably what will kill the Gramscians off. A devaluation by HR departments of degrees issued by untrustworthy insitutions. Just a little box on a form with a 1-5 scale and a policy of "we don't hire anyone from 3 or under".