After the entire faculty voted, with no dissenters, to brand their head librarian as a sexual harasser because he recommended the bestselling book “The Marketing of Evil” as required reading for freshmen, Ohio State University has finally dropped its controversial charges in the glare of national media attention.
But, warns the librarian’s attorney, who calls this one of the most “astonishing” and “shameful” instances of campus persecution he’s ever seen, the damage to his client’s reputation and career has been done. They’ve already filed a complaint against three professors for false accusations of harassment and are discussing a more “substantial” response – including possible litigation – to “deter any future tyranny or bullying of others.”
As WND first reported, Scott Savage, a devout Quaker, is head of Reference and Instructional Services at the Bromfield Library on
Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus. As a member of the university’s First Year Reading Experience Committee, Savage had suggested four books be considered as required reading for incoming freshmen: “The Marketing of Evil” by David Kupelian, “The Professors” by David Horowitz, “Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis” by Bat Ye’or, and “It Takes a Family” by Sen. Rick Santorum. Savage made the recommendations after other committee members had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective, by authors such as Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver.
However, three professors – two of them openly homosexual – filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment, contending Kupelian’s book was “hate literature” which “threatened” them and made them feel “unsafe” on campus. After a 21-0 faculty vote (with 9 abstentions) on March 13, the school’s Office of Human Resources put Savage under “investigation.” The full-faculty vote was rescinded two days later for legal reasons, and the three offended professors filed the harassment complaint.
The professors who filed the complaint against Savage are Hannibal Hamlin, Norman Jones and J.F. Buckley. Jones teaches courses in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature, and according to his bio, “his current research focuses on sexuality and spirituality, particularly exploring the phenomenon of the ‘post-secular queer’ in contemporary literature.” Buckley has written “The Social Critic: The Rise of Queer Performance Within the Demise of Transcendentalism” as well as “articles on sexual orientation in Hemingway and Melville.”
Stepping up to defend Savage has been the Arizona-based public-interest law firm, the Alliance Defense Fund, which on March 28 filed a “Cease and Desist” letter to OSU Mansfield officials.
Undeterred, the university pressed on in its “investigation” of Savage, insisting it takes “any allegation of sexual harassment seriously.”
The ADF filing linked above includes, as evidentiary exhibits, the condemnations of Savage and Kupelian made by OSU professors in intra-faculty e-mails March 9. The professors’ comments include:
Hannibal Hamlin: “Re Kupelian’s book, would you advocate a book that was racist or antisemitic, or are you arguing that homosexuals are not in the same category and that homophobia is not therefore a matter of discrimination but of rational argument? And what are we supposed to make of the fact that Kupelian’s Armenian family died in the holocaust? Does this mean that he then has the right to spout bigotry about other minorities with impunity?”
Norman Jones: “The anti-gay book Scott Savage endorses falsely claims that ‘the widely revered father of the “sexual revolution” has been irrefutably exposed as a full-fledged sexual psychopath who encouraged pedophilia.’ This is a factually untrue characterization of Dr. Kinsey and his work on every point. … I am frankly embarrassed for you, Scott, that you would endorse this kind of homophobic tripe.”
J.F. Buckley: “As a gay man I have long ago realized that the world is full of homophobic, hate-mongers who, of course, say that they are not. So I am not shocked, only deeply saddened – and THREATENED – that such mindless folks are on this great campus. … You have made me fearful and uneasy being a gay man on this campus. I am, in fact, notifying the OSU-M campus, and Ohio State University in general, that I no longer feel safe doing my job. I am being harassed.”
Finally, since WorldNetDaily, Sean Hannity, MSNBC, Fox News’ Brit Hume and dozens of bloggers and talk show hosts have brought the case to national attention over the last few days, Ohio State University has reportedly reversed course. That is, the Mansfield campus’s dean and director, Evelyn B. Freeman, has now notified the faculty that the charges have been dropped, although – strangely – neither Savage nor his ADF attorneys have been notified of that fact.
Here’s the e-mail the faculty received from Freeman:
Dear Faculty and Staff,
The Ohio State University is strongly committed to the free, open, and civil exchange of views as part of the educational process. To prepare our students for success, we must have an atmosphere where students, staff and faculty are free to express opinions and where different points of view are not only tolerated, but welcomed. I want to affirm President Holbrook’s April 5 message to the campus community: “Ohio State is a caring community that rejects racism, homophobia, gender-bias, religious intolerance and other forms of prejudice, exclusion, and disrespect.”
It is unfortunate that conflicting viewpoints on the Mansfield campus escalated to charges of harassment. After a thorough investigation of complaints raised by faculty members against a reference librarian, the University has determined that there were no findings of harassment. However, the news media has now picked up on this incident and you will likely be seeing some coverage in the state and national news.
I hope we can all learn from this incident. We recognize that in the course of robust intellectual debate in and out of the classroom, there exists the potential for conflict. But we have to handle that conflict responsibly and with collegiality. We will be taking a number of steps to help create a more welcoming atmosphere on the Mansfield campus by offering additional training for faculty and staff. We also will work to reinforce a better understanding of the principles of academic rights and responsibilities, and to ensure the respect for diversity of all kinds.
Evelyn B. Freeman, Dean and Director
The Ohio State University at Mansfield
So is the case over?
Not by a long shot, says David French, Savage’s attorney and director of ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom, who says the librarian is carefully “weighing his options.”
“Scott’s exploring litigation – he has already filed an internal complaint accusing the professors of a false allegation of harassment. But he is definitely exploring possibilities of litigation,” said the ADF attorney.
“While we’re glad there was no finding of harassment – that’s merely common sense on the part of the university – we’re upset there hasn’t been a direct communication of that fact to Scott or his attorneys.”
Much more importantly, said French, “the damage has been done” to Scott’s career and reputation. “Ohio State University allowed its resources to be used in a campaign of slander and defamation.” Saying Savage “wants to do something substantial to deter any future tyranny or bullying of others,” French concluded: “We’re certainly glad Scott has been exonerated, but by no means is this over.”
One consequence of the case, surely unintended by the professors condemning Kupelian’s book as “homophobic tripe” and “hate literature,” is that “The Marketing of Evil” has shot up the nation’s bestsellers lists, where it currently is ranked No. 1 on Amazon.com’s “Current Events” bestseller chart.
The reason for the massive interest in Kupelian’s book? The following letter, one of many sent in response to the column about the case by Rebecca Hagelin, tells the story.
I hope you can forward the information to the faculty of OSU-M that I, for one, had not yet heard of the book, “The Marketing of Evil.” But because of their hysteria and hypocritical intolerance, I have decided that it is something I should definitely read. I intend to buy a copy, and perhaps an extra to pass. In spite of themselves, these would-be thought controllers are serving as a beacon of light, showing the way to valuable literature!
Released in August, “The Marketing of Evil” has become one of the nation’s most talked-about books, widely praised by Dr. Laura, David Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, D. James Kennedy and many others and garnering over 100 five-star reader reviews on Amazon.com.
In one final irony: “The Marketing of Evil” is readily available in the Ohio State University bookstore.
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