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Suggesting Anti-Gay Book for Inclusion in University Reading Program = Sexual Orientation Harassment?

That's what Ohio State University (Mansfield) professors J.F. Buckley and Norman Jones are alleging, in a complaint that they have filed with the University. A conservative OSU reference librarian (Scott Savage) suggested that several books be included in the first-year reading program; one of the books -- The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian -- is apparently anti-gay.

The professors claim in a formal complaint filed with OSU that this suggestion, and the librarian's arguments in its defense (which were apparently not otherwise anti-gay, not that this should matter), create a "hostile environment" for them based on their sexual orientation. (The complaint has been referred to as a sexual harassment complaint, but it's really a sexual orientation harassment complaint, see the first paragraph on page 2 of the Ohio State harassment policy.)

Here are copies of the relevant documents, attached to an Alliance Defend Fund letter written on behalf of the librarian. (The ADF, as readers may know, is a public interest law firm that generally approaches things from a cultural/religious conservative perspective.) My summary above relies on the copies of the documents, not on the ADF's own accounts.

The university is now investigating the complaints. It's quite sad, I think, that these university professors are responding to offensive ideas not just by arguing against them, but by trying to coercively suppress them (apparently, according to the ADF's letter, with considerable support from their colleagues). I expect that the university will promptly dismiss the complaint, since even under the university's own policy such speech is not prohibited -- among other reasons, the speech wasn't "based on a person's protected status," since the statements weren't about the complainants, and weren't targeted towards the complainants because of their sexual orientation. But it reflects badly on the complainants that the complaint is even being filed.

Oh, and one related item, from a message during this debate written by another professor, Hannibal Hamlin (no, not the Hannibal Hamlin): "On the matter of homophobia, I think you should be rather careful, Scott. OSU's policy on discrimination is not simply a matter of academic orthodoxy, but a matter of human rights." Yes, reference librarians, professors, students, everyone: On matters of certain viewpoints that are prohibited by university policies, we think you should be rather careful.

Thanks to commenter Gaius Obvious for the pointer.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Accusing Librarian of Sexual Orientation Harassment
  2. Scott Savage Cleared:
  3. Interesting Tidbit About the Ohio State (Mansfield) Controversy:
  4. Suggesting Anti-Gay Book for Inclusion in University Reading Program = Sexual Orientation Harassment?
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