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Friday, April 14, 2006

The shame of Ohio State University 

The Ohio State University, an agency of the State of Ohio, is investigating a librarian for recommending a book.
Scott Savage, who serves as a reference librarian for the university, suggested four best-selling conservative books for freshman reading in his role as a member of OSU Mansfield’s First Year Reading Experience Committee. The four books he suggested were 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 Senator 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.

Savage was put under “investigation” by OSU’s Office of Human Resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel “unsafe.” The complaint came after the OSU Mansfield faculty voted without dissent to file charges against Savage. The faculty later voted to allow the individual professors to file charges.

A state agency is investigating a librarian for having expressed an opinion. It is hard to imagine a more four-square violation of the First Amendment. It will be very interesting to see whether the American Library Association, which purports to care a lot about "intellectual freedom" ("the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction"), will have anything to say about this outrage. Or is it that the First Amendment ceases to exist if some person in the vicinity of the speech can claim to be offended?

If the facts are as described in the linked post, the mere cancellation of the investigation of Mr. Savage will not be enough to repair the damage done to free speech at Ohio State. The only way to resurrect the right of free speech at Ohio State is to discipline the administrators who brought the investigation because they failed their duty to defend Mr. Savage's rights notwithstanding the faculty's urge to punish him. If the investigating administrators are not themselves punished for this outrageous abuse of power, the lesson will not be missed: if you value your career at the Ohio State University, do not say unpopular things.

CWCID: Instapundit.

10 Comments:

By Blogger sirius_sir, at Fri Apr 14, 07:02:00 PM:

...three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel “unsafe.”

These professors need to find another line of work if competing ideas make them feel unsafe. I feel unsafe knowing they are influencing the future quality of intellectual thought in this country. I shudder to think where such stupidity will eventually lead.  

By Blogger Charlottesvillain, at Fri Apr 14, 07:23:00 PM:

Just another example of liberal, open minded, "tolerence" on our college campuses, which have become among our most totalitarian of institutions.  

By Blogger Counter Trey, at Fri Apr 14, 08:14:00 PM:

Where's the ACLU?

Anyone?

Bueller?  

By Blogger Final Historian, at Fri Apr 14, 08:33:00 PM:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Hypocrisy

That about covers my views on the subject.  

By Anonymous Jim - PRS, at Fri Apr 14, 08:42:00 PM:

Dude, you are so ... like ... totally unprogressive.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Fri Apr 14, 09:57:00 PM:

Let me first admit that there may be more to this story than is apparent, which would change the narrative somewhat. I only know what I have seen here.

That said, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on the ALA to leap to his defense. My wife has been a librarian for 30 years, and the already-liberal organization has become positively leftist over time. They will reframe this as a renegade librarian who was stifling dissent by creating an atmosphere of fear on campus. These are the people who not only didn't defend the Cuban librarians who Castro locked up, but went out of their way to distance themselves from them. It is definitely a "Four legs good, two legs bad" group.  

By Blogger Wave Maker, at Fri Apr 14, 10:21:00 PM:

I find the use of the language "feel unsafe" rather suspicious -- it must be part of the "hate speech code"at the campus, some pigeonhole the pantywaist profs can stuff their bogus complaint into to warrant the investigation.

I wonder if the OSU code has any provision for the filing of patently frivolous complaints.

Nah, that would be a 1st amendment infringement.  

By Anonymous Pasquin, at Sat Apr 15, 12:32:00 AM:

Recent generations have seen the death of "liberal" (i.e., unrestricted) education in this country. The dominant philosophy at OSU, though undoubtedly leftist, is the other L-word's opposite, and that which today governs all of American academia: fascism.

Shame on them all.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat Apr 15, 11:54:00 AM:

I had a hard-core red socialist US History professor in college who told the class that the US committed more atrocities in World War II than the Japanese. In seriousness. With a straight face.

I (being a history buff) looked around to see what the class reactions were. They were writing it down. I slammed my binder, grabbed my crap, and stormed out. Since it was only like a week until finals, I just never went back. I think I got a C on the Final because I didn't focus enough on the plights of the poor unwashed masses that the prof spent more than half the semester on.

These are people who are teaching the youth of America, and every twisted little fallacious argument they make or delusional falsehood they repeat will be repeated a hundred more times by their students who believe them.

It reminds me of that one freak expatriate from Italy who posted here in the comments whining about fascim and anyone who voted for the Republicans was a traitor.  

By Blogger John A, at Sat Apr 15, 11:58:00 AM:

The Volokh Conspiracy and Clayton Cramer point out that the specific accusation (or, excuse) appears to be of "sexual harassment" of two other professors because one of the books, in a minor way, disapproves of homosexuality.

So, also in a minor way (one book of x books) does the Torah/Bible, which I am sure those professors would like to remove from any approved reading list and possibly the U's library.  

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