Friday, April 14, 2006

Hubba-hubba, let's read Horowitz! 

The sad part is, I can just picture this happening at SCSU.
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.
Now if you'd like to complain abbout Mr. Savage's book selections be my guest, for I wouldn't use them for a first-year-experience course. But to say having that discussion constitutes harrassment is just one more example of the lack of academic freedom on American campuses for the academic right. As David French (formerly of FIRE, now at the Alliance Defense Fund) points out,
It is astonishing that an entire faculty would vote to launch a sexual harassment investigation because a librarian offered book suggestions in a committee whose purpose was to solicit such suggestions.
UPDATE: I note via the Volokh Conspiracy that the Kupelian book was considered anti-gay. Again I must ask, where else would you like students to read this book? On a plane, or in a classroom where open discussion can be had and the students taught of its bias (if it exists)?