Editor’s note: continued from here.
Dear Professor Phelps: Could you tell me whether you actually sent the following email to Professor JF Buckley () as well as the entire faculty of OSU-Mansfield ()?:
How ludicrous to propose that every freshman should read a screed like The Marketing of Evil in order to introduce them to… the world of higher learning!
Ohio State policy, in particular the “Diversity Action Plan” (2000), includes “different sexual orientations” under the definition of “diversity” to which the institution is committed. It obliges us to foster a “campus culture of inclusion that creates a learning environment essential for educating students who will work and live in an increasingly diverse culture.” (http://www.osu.edu/diversityplan/june_30.php) As employees of this university we ought to understand that we have a professional obligation to respect this institutional mission.
I agree wholeheartedly with Jim that a university library—and our first-year book selection—should be guided by the principles of enlightenment rather than ignorance, science as opposed to obscurantism, tolerance instead of bigotry, intellect in place of stupidity, and openness rather than small-mindedness.
Make no mistake, Jim: You are welcome at this university. It is bigotry that is unwelcome.
Department of History
Thanks for your help,
Mike S. Adams
Dear Professor Hamlin: Could you please explain your following email? I don’t understand how you could be so vocal on the issue of tolerance yet so unwilling to allow a librarian to recommend books you don’t like? Am I to infer from your message that you believe a book-burning is in order?
Chris puts the matter very well, and he certainly speaks for me and others as well, I’m sure. Indeed, with its CARE forums, guest lectures, extracurricular cultural events, and various on campus and outreach programs, I think that OSU-Mansfield is increasingly developing a reputation as a [sic] institution committed to championing diversity of all kinds. The one thing “diversity” does not include is intolerance.
Dear Professor Phelps: I would like to get you to comment on JF Buckley’s reference to religious persecution in the following email. Isn’t that what you are doing to Scott Savage?
Thanks again. Mike S. Adams
Chris and Hannibal,
Many, many thanks to your intellect and courage. I was the first one to take this mess public, even though not all on campus had a clear image of the beginning of it all. It only mattered that I call attention to the denigration of scholars like Norman annd [sic] Terri who are devoted to literary, cultural, and intellectual circumspection.
Any such discussion can only occur OUT OF THE CLOSET, where too many of us are discussing it. The, to me reprenhesible [sic] attitudes and actions of our librarians can only be critiqued with a public outcry based in the academic belief that all attitudes and beliefs are open to discussion—if all those discussing do so with honesty, a willingness to be found in error, and with full openness.
No one can seriously believe that the “book” that was put forth for first-year students was any sort ofan [sic] effort to foster dialogue. There are, as any one who ever actually read a book might know, plenty of vetted opinions on all sides of most any issue we can imagine.
Again, thanks Chris and Hanniba [sic] for going public. There is nothing here we can do but BE PUBLIC, and join in a unanimous censure of the kind of intellectual myopia that will kill OSU-M.
In other words, I am for being out of the closet that surrounds bigotry, sexism, racism, religious persecution, zenophobia [sic], ageism, and sexuality.
Hello Professor Jones: Mike Adams, here. I have a question. What do you call a bunch of people who pin a man down and refuse to let him up until he abandons his principles and adopts theirs? What do you call those who force their beliefs upon others without their consent and threaten to destroy them if they resist? Would this be enough of an infringement upon the dignitary interest of a human to warrant the label of intellectual rape? Think about it as you read the following words. After all, you wrote them.
As you may have heard, last Thursday I had a deeply disturbing email exchange with Scott Savage, the Head of Reference and Library Instruction. I want to tell you about it and give the full transcript of what occurred so that you may determine for yourselves the nature and severity of the problem (it was entirely via email, so that transcript is attached as a MS Word document, with the emails between me and the library staff arranged in chronological order beginning at the top).
To provide a brief background, these emails were exchanged among a group of faculty and staff charged with choosing a book for our first-year students to read as part of their introduction to college. With the approval of the Executive Committee, Donna Hight put together a small ad-hoc group of us to perform this task. We were all invited to suggest book titles for the group’s consideration. On Wednesday 3/8, Scott sent some suggestions that included a book called The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian (the attached email transcript begins with an excerpt from that email of his, with the description he offered of this book; I excerpted that portion of his email, but no other email has been altered). When I investigated the book, it became clear that, while it appeared to be opposed to the spirit of OSU’s diversity commitment, still more troubling was that its anti-gay argument rested on at least some claims (claims made in the publisher’s description, quoted in the transcript) that do not meet basic standards of scholarly integrity. When I raised this objection with Scott, he proceeded to impugn both my credibility as well as that of the entire OSU-Mansfield faculty in determining the basic standards of scholarly integrity. He also sent copies of these email exchanges (again, which took place among an ad-hoc group under the auspices of the Executive Committee through Donna Hight) to a right-wing watchdog group (http://www.thefire.org/) not connected with OSU. These two things together suggest an intolerance for diversity that is enmeshed with deep-seeded disrespect for the university, its faculty, and for professional standards of scholarship—and this from the Head of Reference and Library Instruction.
The fact that Scott continues to endorse a book that calls me and Jim and other gay and lesbian people “evil,” and that he justifies this book on grounds that are ludicrous by scholarly standards, says to me this is about homophobia—that the hatred (“evil”) and irrationality (anti-scholarly defense) this term implies are clearly operative here. This kind of defense would be unacceptable in support of a book that denied the Holocaust or that argued that African-Americans were inherently biologically inferior to other people. This is a matter of professional standards and competence, and it is also a matter of harassment—of creating a hostile work environment insofar as part of our jobs (mine and Jim’s, but also all the faculty’s) is to use the library for both research and teaching.
Evie and Ted are investigating this matter with all appropriate gravity and diligence. I have consulted throughout the last few days with many of my senior colleagues among you. Those I consulted recognized, to a person, that this matter requires a serious response and that this issue affects us all. It was suggested by several of you that everyone should therefore be apprised as to the specifics of the exchange. Some of my senior colleagues intend to raise this issue in Monday’s Faculty Assembly, and we are all interested in the entire faculty’s therefore being sufficiently informed about the precise nature of the problem. That is the reason for this email.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
…To Be Continued