A Christian librarian publicly accused by university faculty of “sexual harassment” because he recommended students read the best-selling book “The Marketing of Evil” – and who fought back by filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school and faculty members involved – has been rebuffed by the federal judge hearing the case.
But he’s “definitely” appealing the ruling, his lawyer assures WND.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio by attorney Tom Condit on behalf of Scott Savage, a devout Quaker and former head of Reference and Instructional Services at Bromfield Library on Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus.
Savage had taken a leave of absence and said he was later forced to resign because of the virulent reaction from homosexual faculty members after he suggested “The Marketing of Evil” by WND Managing Editor David Kupelian be included in a required reading list for incoming freshmen.
In a bizarre case that made national headlines, Savage was condemned publicly by a 21-0 faculty vote March 13, 2006, to be formally investigated for “sexual harassment” after several professors, including two who are openly homosexual, objected to the librarian’s having recommended the popular culture-war book. Subtitled “How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom,” chapter one is well known for exposing the marketing strategies and tactics of the “gay rights” movement.
Included as defendants in Savage’s March 2008 lawsuit were Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee; Nancy K. Campbell, a human resources officer; T. Glenn Hill, a consultant; members of the university’s board of directors, and Christopher Phelps, Norman W. Jones, James F. Buckley, Hannibal Hamlin and Gary Kennedy, who teach on the campus. Also named as a defendant was former Ohio State President Karen A. Holbrook, whom Savage described as allowing the false accusations against him to be pursued.
‘You have made me fearful and uneasy being a gay man’
As WND reported at the time, one of the homosexual professors, J.F. Buckley, in a March 9, 2006, e-mail, reacted this way to Savage’s recommendation of Kupelian’s book: “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 [sic] – 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.”
Buckley unleashed an obscenity-filled diatribe on the subject, according to copies of e-mails accompanying the lawsuit.
“What the G– d—– f—– h— kind of homophobic s— h— is this?” he ranted. The e-mails document how faculty members first talked about changing Savage’s mind, then reprimanding, then censuring, and finally getting rid of him.
In still another e-mail, Jones complained that it was inappropriate for a librarian to dispute his judgment when he pronounced an opinion. Savage also was variously described as a “troll” and “virulent parasite.”
Savage’s book recommendations came after he agreed to serve on the First Year Reading Experience Committee to choose books freshmen would be required to read. Savage suggested four books: Kupelian’s “The Marketing of Evil,” David Horowitz’ “The Professors,” Bat Ye’or’s “Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis,” and Sen. Rick Santorum’s “It Takes a Family.”
Jones immediately condemned “The Marketing of Evil” as “homophobic tripe,” Savage defended his academic freedom to suggest it, and Jones responded with an attack on Savage to his supervisor.
Then Buckley, who was not on the committee, sent an e-mail to all Mansfield faculty and staff claiming he felt “threatened” and “harassed” by Savage’s book recommendation, sending the case spiraling into a formal sexual harassment complaint against Savage.
The unprecedented formal attack on Savage, as well as a threat of a legal counterattack by the Alliance Defense Fund, finally ended when OSU backed down and informed Savage he was not guilty.
As a result, Savage in April 2006 received a letter from the school noting he was not guilty of discrimination or harassment, but Hill followed with a defense of the accusation anyway.
“In a series of e-mails and communications dating from immediately after their public exposure in early April 2006 and continuing to at least the end of May 2006, those five OSU-Mansfield faculty members continued to conspire to drive Mr. Savage from his position,” says the lawsuit.
“Defendant faculty members were gearing up a campaign to further harass Mr. Savage and to make his work in the library impossible,” it adds.
After Savage had been cleared, the lawsuit said, Phelps still told the university provost the librarian “is an acknowledged advocate of bigotry.”
“Not only did he send e-mails to FIRE but he has a very intimate relationship with WorldNetDaily, a vituperous and rabid web site,” Phelps continued.
Savage then took a leave of absence because of the “extreme emotional distress that was the direct result of Defendants’ false and defamatory accusations” and eventually felt forced to resign, the lawsuit said.
“What we found,” Savage told WND in 2008, “was an incredibly concerted effort on their part, long after the complaint cleared me, to try and get me fired, otherwise harass me, to try and turn staff, non-faculty members, there against me, all quite openly.”
Savage’s lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief ordering his reinstatement “to a library position other than his former position at OSU-Mansfield,” as well as policy changes to prevent their use in order to “harass and punish constitutionally protected speech and academic freedom.”
He said his goal is justice, but doesn’t know if that’s possible.
“Justice would have occurred if the university had honored my counterclaim and admitted these professors falsely accused me. That would have been justice. But two things need to happen. The professors need to be completely exposed and brought to account for having done that to me. And the university needs to change its policies so this stuff doesn’t happen again,” he said at the time.
However, Monday, U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman ruled against Savage on all counts, writing in his decision that Savage freely resigned his position, and even had the support of his supervisor.
“… [T]he fact that Savage felt wounded by the criticism of several faculty members and unnerved by their challenge to his professionalism does not create an objectively ‘intolerable’ working environment, given that he had the strong support of his immediate supervisor and no indication from the dean that his job was in jeopardy,” the judge wrote in his 26-page ruling.
Yesterday, Savage commented on the ruling to WND: “What can I say? The judge was not with us at all, the decision was riddled with errors of fact he took from OSU’s sloppy and misleading briefs, etc. etc. If you want loyalty, get a dog; if you want justice, wait for the Second Coming.”
However, his attorney Tom Condit, who earlier characterized the case as homosexuals “posturing” themselves as victims while making “aggressive” demands against Christians, “definitely” will appeal the district court’s verdict, saying many substantive issues in the case were never even dealt with by this judge.
In addition, Savage has a civil suit against the professors themselves that is still pending at the Ohio State Court of Claims.