September 19, 2003


A radical idea (Tom Purcell, Sept. 19, 2003, Jewish World Review)

This story involves free speech, a lawsuit, a lobster, conservative college students, and some very radical ideas.

Maybe I better explain. [...]

In 1991, a resident assistant at Carnegie Mellon University was required to attend a "Gay and Lesbian Sensitivity Training Session." Pat Mooney participated in the lectures until his supervisor began passing out pink triangles. All resident assistants were told to wear the triangles as a sign of solidarity with gay students.

Mooney, a devout Catholic, declined to wear the pin. He told his supervisor he would not wear it because of his religious-based opposition to the homosexual lifestyle. He was immediately suspended, then terminated the next day.

Mooney's lawyer, Peter Blume, filed a federal lawsuit against the university for violating Mooney's constitutionally-protected right of free speech and religion in the workplace (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act). After five months of negative publicity, the university settled the case in Mooney's favor.

That brings us to the lobster.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2003 1:37 PM

Having attended Cow College, where all those bad things happened in the good pl' days, only to leftwingers, I find it hard to generate much outrage for today's oppressed rightists.

I cannot remember one of them ever chiding his fellows 40 years ago.

Maybe it happened, but not where I was.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 19, 2003 2:10 PM


Forty years ago the Left was taking over campuses and none of them were given the heave-ho. Heck, remember all the whining when we shot a few of them at Kent State?

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2003 2:13 PM

So if someone breaks out the melted butter and lemon juice in the presence of Lobster Boy (mmmmmmmm, lobster . . .), is that protected speech? Protected conduct? Dinner?

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 19, 2003 4:40 PM

At Cow College the leftist associate professors (we had only two) were given the heave-ho, and I didn't hear a peep about academic freedom, variety of expression etc. from any of the rightwingers who were left.

One of the two, who was sort of smitten by my wife (he gave her his greatest treasure, a sea turtle skeleton, when he departed), made the mistake of taking an appointment at the U. of Athens (Greece, not Georgia) and arriving just after the colonels' revolt. He was denied entrance because of his long hair.

A long, strange trip for a former inmate of a Baptist seminary. My wife still has the turtle.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 19, 2003 5:07 PM

Well, we know it wasn't for hitting on students. No school fires profs for that, do they?

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2003 6:32 PM

Princeton does.

My nephew had to sneak around with his Chinese teacher there, though eventually she made an honest man out of him.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 19, 2003 9:45 PM

So she wasn't fired after marrying a student though?

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2003 10:02 PM


I am trying to understand your position, which is unclear to me from your posts. Is it that you believe discrimination based on political beliefs is perfectly acceptable, or that past discrimination justifies retribution today?

Either way, would you then support repeal of the Hatch Act?

Posted by: jd watson at September 19, 2003 10:25 PM

My guess is that Harry detects more than a whiff of hypocrisy.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 20, 2003 5:51 AM


Ah, so hypocrisy justifies discrimination? This is an interesting ethical position. Since there are hypocrites on all sides, should we discriminate against everyone?

Besides, it seems to me a charge of hypocrisy requires that those now complaining be the ones who were guilty of discrimination in the past -- but this does not seem to be the case here.

Posted by: jd watson at September 20, 2003 4:08 PM


No, it doesn't. Hypocrisy doesn't justify anything. But it stinks nonetheless.

Had Cow College conservatives been more assiduous about the principles in question, they might have firmer ground to stand on when their ox started getting gored.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 20, 2003 6:35 PM

Cow college doesn't sound much like NYU 40 years ago.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at September 21, 2003 1:46 PM

One could argue, conversely, that the left, once it got academic power, forgot its stand on the 1st amendment and academic freedom and forced out its opponents.

In other words, the left are the hypocrites here.

Posted by: Andy at September 21, 2003 6:55 PM

I thought it was clear enough. If you didn't complain on the way up, don't ask my for sympathy on your way down.

There's no shortage of hypocrisy, but the principle is something different.

Remember when Iacocca wanted money from the government but didn't want government to get the profits from its investment?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 22, 2003 10:40 PM