A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

OTIT: When PCs Clash

No, not personal computers, political correctnesses. Seems William Paterson University in New Jersey has run into a bit of problem-- what to do when the "politically correct" attitudes towards homosexuality run into the "politically correct" attitudes toward religion? Here's the story:

The head of the Women's Studies program at William Paterson, Arlene Holpp Scala, sent around a bulk email to all campus emails announcing a film about a lesbian relationship. Jihad Daniel, nice name, emailed her back-- privately, not to everyone at the university, like Scala had done-- stating that his religion taught that homosexuality was a pervsion and please stop sending him emails of this nature.

All of which seems reasonable so far, no? What was Scala's response? Take Daniel off the list? Email him back expressing regret at his viewpoint? Ignoring the request? Nope. Professor Scala filed a complaint with the university’s Office of Employment Equity and Diversity, accusing Daniel of violating university nondiscrimination policy. How exactly? Well, apparently his message seemed threatening to her and she didn’t want to “feel threatened at [her] place of work when [she] send[s] out announcements about events that address lesbian issues.”

Take another look at Daniel's email. It's poorly written, it's close-minded, and it's off the point (Scala was announcing a film screening, Daniel mentions classes in response), but does anybody find it even vaguely threatening?

So, what to do, if you're William Paterson? You're tolerant. You're all for freedom of speech. You're supportive of a diversity of lifestyles and religious viewpoints. Ahhh... but Jihan, nice name, had the termity to use the word perversion. That's clearly intolerant. We have a winner! Or rather a loser. The President of the school wrote a reprimand to Daniel, which was placed in Daniel's permanent employment file. And denied his appeal.

The irony is that Daniel was reprimand under the university's non-discrimination policy. But isn't sending an email to someone that offends him based on his religious and/or moral beliefs and then saying he has no right to object also discriminatory? Basically, the school has said that "discrimination" against homosexuals trumps "discrimination" against Muslims.

What a mess. And what a waste of time, energy, manpower, and money. Which the taxpayers of New Jersey get to pay for, in the long run. Nice.

I'm no fan of Mr. Daniel-- he seems a thin-skinned, narrow-minded ideologue. But he has a right to his opinions, and at least he tried to settle his issue with Ms. Scala privately, and simply. She, on the other hand, couldn't just let things go-- she had to make it a big deal. With all of the discrimination and legitimate problems gays and lesbians face in our world, she decided to make a big deal out this. What a thin-skinned, narrow-minded, idiotic and paranoid, ideologue.

And this won't be the last time this sort of thing crops up. There are so many different PC agendas out there-- particularly on college campuses-- that it is only a matter of time before they start to clash on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see what the results and backlashes wind up being.

Personally, I hope for some sort of WWE cage match:

In thissss corrner, representing the Conservative Religious Coalition, Sheik Sahhabi! And in this corner, representing the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Trans-gender Alliance, the Rainbow Warrior! The winner's organization gets to distribute their literature at all future events held by the loser's organization!
I don't know about you, but I might even be willing to fork over some dough to see that on pay-per-view.
Comments:
Maybe Jihad can get the ACLU to represent him in a case against the university. After all, Dr. Scala's announcement email was apparently unsolicited, and she would seem to have invited feedback by putting the "Please do not hit reply, click here. MAIL TO: ScalaA@wpunj.edu" line at the very beginning of her email. "ACLU takes on Women's Studies Department over unsolicited lesbian film announcements via email," has a nice ring to it.
 
Heh - the ACLU would never take up a case to defend an ultra-conservative against an ultra-liberal. If anything, they'd defend the professor.

C.
 
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