By Jami Kinton News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio)
MANSFIELD -- A librarian at The Ohio State University-Mansfield accused of sexual harassment is suing at least four faculty members for defamation and intentional distress.
Scott Savage's suit lists Norman Jones, James Buckley, Hannibal Hamlin, Gary Kennedy and others yet to be identified as defendants.
The dispute stems from Savage's experiences, in February 2006, on the First Year Reading Experience Committee that chooses books for freshmen to read as part of their immersion into college life.
Savage initially suggested four titles from a conservative perspective, including David Kupelian's "The Marketing of Evil."
The next day, Jones e-mailed the committee to say Kupelian's book is "anti-gay and "homophobic tripe," the suit alleges.
Savage says that when he offered other reviews of the book, Jones sent private e-mails to library director Beth Burns, the campus dean and the committee that attacked Savage's professionalism and academic opinions.
Hamlin responded with an e-mail warning Savage the book would violate the campus's discrimination policy. Soon after, Buckley, who was not on the committee, sent an e-mail to all OSU-Mansfield faculty and staff members criticizing the book suggestion and saying he felt threatened and harassed by Savage.
According to the suit, Savage did not respond to these or future comments because "the discussion had degenerated from the professional task of producing a freshman reading list to an effort by faculty members to enforce their own liberal orthodoxy at OSU-M and to punish and humiliate Savage for his viewpoint."
At a March 13, 2006, assembly, Hamlin accused Savage of defending "hate literature" and told faculty the overriding issue raised by Savage was sexual harassment, the suit says.
The faculty unanimously approved a motion to forward a sexual harassment allegation to a university investigator. Three days later, Kennedy filed the complaint on behalf of Buckley and Jones with OSU-Mansfield's Human Resources Officer.
A month later, Savage said he received a letter from the OSU-M Human Resources investigator that stated he was not guilty of discrimination and harassment and charges never should have been filed.
Because of what he called "extreme emotional distress," Savage took a leave of absence from the campus July 5 and has not returned.
Defendants will have 30 days to respond or make a legal motion in response to the March 6 suit.
Savage is asking for $25,000 in compensatory damages, a minimum of $25,000 in punitive damages from each defendant, attorney fees and any other relief to which he may be entitled.
"I have represented people a number of times who have been nose-to-nose with the homosexual rights crowd," said Tom Condit, Savage's attorney. "The people who are homosexual activists are vicious. They are not honest and will take no prisoners.
"They want people to agree that homosexuality is a good thing or they will destroy you."
Condit said accusations and name-calling damage reputations, no matter the eventual outcome.
"No matter how long it takes, if this is settled immediately or if it takes 10 years, we are in this for the long run," Condit said.
Rodger Smith, assistant director of university relations at OSU-Mansfield, said Savage is due back on campus on July 2.
Now, from this, i got the impression that Savage had suggested The Marketing of Evil as one of several books to be read as part of a "Year of Reading" program and was then "attacked" by a group with an agenda, which would be bad and uncalled for to say the least, and also somewhat smacking of censorship, but then, as i was reading some of the comments, i thought to myself, there seems to be something more here, so i did a little further research, and i came up with this article:
By David French FrontPageMagazine.com April 24, 2006
Like many other universities, Ohio State University’s branch campus in Mansfield, Ohio has a “First Year Reading Experience” program, through which the school chooses a book for all incoming freshmen to read. The book is chosen by a committee that includes both faculty and library staff.
One of the members of this was Scott Savage, the head reference librarian at OSU Mansfield. Scott is a “Plain Christian,” a conservative Quaker who eschews most forms of modern technology, rides a horse and buggy, and endeavors to live a simple and quiet life. As a Quaker, Scott believes in nonviolence, and that evil and injustice should not be fought “with the weapons of this world.” His opponents on the committee made the mistake of assuming that because of this pacifism, Savage would be easily overwhelmed on the issue before them and that once his friendly persuasion had failed he would retreat into silence and acquiescence.
The other members of the committee initially recommended a variety of leftist works, a mixture of scholarly books and casual reads (such as titles by Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver) for incoming freshmen. Scott objected to the one-sided nature of the list and suggested a less overtly political book, Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. After this suggestion was rebuffed, he suggested four more books, all reflecting mainstream conservative opinions: David Horowitz’s The Professors, It Takes a Family by Rick Santorum, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Baat Ye’or, and The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian.
The reaction to these suggestions was swift – and outrageous. The Marketing of Evil particularly angered some of the professors because it advances a traditional Judeo-Christian view of sexual morality. One professor, J.F. Buckley, responded to Scott’s suggestion with a public allegation (through an e-mail to the OSU Mansfield faculty and staff) of harassment:
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. I am ending now, with the hope that I have seriously challenged you Scott, and anyone who “thinks” as you purport to do. 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.
In other words, Scott Savage’s very existence on campus—the way he thought and viewed the world-- made Professor Buckley fearful at work. Given the absurdity of that allegation, one might think that others on the committee would have introduced a note of sanity to the discussion. But this was not the case. In fact, the other professors immediately jumped to the support of Professor Buckley, and fellow faculty member Dr. Norman Jones recommended that the matter be brought before the school’s faculty association.
On March 13, 2006, after much discussion, the faculty association of OSU Mansfield voted without dissent to forward the issue of Scott Savage’s incorrect thinking to a “sexual harassment investigator of the university.” Whether out of conviction or cowardice, not one faculty member stood up to defend obviously protected speech. Not one faculty member stood up to defend academic freedom. Not one faculty member voted to stop a slanderous and false allegation. Not one faculty member voted against a motion to punish a librarian for suggesting a book.
At the University of Colorado, 199 professors signed a public petition to ask the Board of Regents to stop all investigations of Ward Churchill, including a plagiarism investigation that was unrelated to Churchill’s offensive (though certainly constitutionally protected) speech. To those professors, free speech was so important that it justified protecting a controversial professor even from plagiarism allegations. At Ohio State Mansfield, though, the faculty slandered a librarian for exercising the same academic freedom rights as other members of his committee.
So, in the name of academic freedom, leftists like Colorado’s Churchill must be protected – even from actual legal violations (like plagiarism) – when they celebrate the September 11 death of American fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. Yet in the name of that same academic freedom, these same leftists can punish conservatives merely for suggesting books that offer a traditional Judeo-Christian perspective on sexual morality.
This episode in the heartland of red state America shows yet again how deeply the culture of Leftism has penetrated the daily workings of our universities.
David French is the Director of the Alliance Defense Fund’s Center for Academic Freedom