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March 21, 2008

Former librarian sues
OSU Mansfield over anti-gay book

Says he was harassed and had to resign after suggesting it

Mansfield--A former librarian at the Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus is suing the school and former co-workers, alleging that he was harassed because of his religious beliefs for suggesting that an anti-gay book be included on a reading list.

Scott Savage, who is Quaker, was on a board compiling a list of required reading for freshmen when he argued that the books were too liberally biased. He then suggested David Kupelian’s The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom.

The recommendation of a book that refers to gays as “evil” led to a backlash and charges of sexual harassment. Savage eventually resigned, alleging that he was being harassed for his religious views.

Kupelian, the book’s author, is also managing editor of WorldNetDaily, a religious right website that serves as a mouthpiece for anti-gay, arch-conservative organizations like Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and others.

Faculty at the university argued that the book failed to meet professional standards. In it, Kupelian asserts that Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the “widely-revered father of the ‘sexual revolution’ ” was a “sexual psychopath who encouraged pedophilia.”

When Savage made the suggestion in early 2006, he told the Columbus Dispatch that it was not a serious recommendation.

“I was making a point. I want us to be aware of our biases,” he said at the time.

Gay professors on the campus failed to see the humor in the book.

According to Prof. Norman W. Jones, Savage’s defense of it was very serious.

Jones wrote to the faculty that he had looked into the volume, and that he believed it failed to meet scholarly integrity. According to Jones, Savage then impugned his ability to speak on the subject of scholarly integrity.

Jones, Christopher Phelps and J.F. Buckley eventually filed a sexual harassment charge against Savage, and the faculty board voted 21-0 to investigate.

While Savage was eventually cleared, he claims that he was harassed by faculty and staff at the school, forcing him to first take a leave of absence and eventually resign.

His suit, filed on March 10 in U.S. District Court by attorney Tom Condit, seeks his reinstatement and damages, and names former OSU president Karen Holbrook, current president E. Gordon Gee, human resource officer Nancy Campbell, consultant Glenn Hill, the board of directors and a quintet of instructors, including Jones, Phelps and Buckley.

Quakers as a group believe in equality, and there are several pro-gay organizations in the denomination. However, Quakers have leeway in their personal beliefs, so Savage’s views, while not necessarily in line with the main body of his denomination, are also not outside of what is permissible.




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