more equal than others

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 18, 2004

Academic freedom takes a licking in Ohio (from today's WSJ Opinion Journal):

In March of last year, philosophy professor James Tuttle received a complaint that had been forwarded by his superior at Lakeland Community College in Ohio. The student letter-writer charged that Prof. Tuttle had made comments she deemed offensive to women and gays, and that he'd also shown signs of hostility to Muslim women. "I feel," she wrote, "as if I have been crushed, and forced to endure views that I do not agree with . . . we are supposed to be learning philosophy." But the main problem, the letter stressed, was the professor's excessive reference to his religion -- Catholicism. How, she wondered, would non-Catholic, liberal students "be able to defend themselves or even be able to learn in such a hostile learning environment?" The philosophy professor needed the separation of church and state explained to him; furthermore, the student said, his classes should be monitored and he should undergo counseling.

Pretty foul. Thankfully, the Catholic Theological Society of America immediately weighed in with a stirring defense of personal and intellectual liberty of a responsible scholar:

To grasp the special nature of the treatment accorded Prof. Tuttle here, it's only necessary to consider what would have happened if the accused had been a feminist professor rather than a Catholic philosopher -- if, an Evangelical Christian student, offended by criticisms of Christianity, the church as subjugator of women and the like, were to file complaint charging bias and a hostile learning environment. Can one imagine -- the mind reels -- administrators warning this professor to cease offending and seek counseling?

Sorry, did I mention the CTSA? My mistake. Prof. Tuttle's defender is Dorothy Rabinowitz.

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