Marquette Controversy Grows

May 13, 2010

The controversy over Marquette University's decision to rescind a job offer to be dean of arts and sciences to Jodi O'Brien, a sociologist at Seattle University who is a lesbian and whose scholarship has focused on sexuality and gender, continues. O'Brien was very open about her sexual orientation and her scholarship with the search committee, which in turn was open with senior administrators at Marquette, who first offered her the job and then rescinded it. In new developments:

  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Rev. Jerome Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, called the Rev. Robert A. Wild, president of Marquette, to express concerns about the appointment. Many on the campus have speculated that pressure from outside the university contributed to the decision to rescind the offer to O'Brien.
  • The president of the American Sociological Association sent a letter to Marquette, strongly objecting to its treatment of O'Brien and calling on the university to once again offer her the dean's job. The letter noted that the study of issues of sexuality is a well established and respected part of sociology. "We condemn the action of Marquette University’s senior officials in rescinding its offer to Dr. O’Brien. By doing so, Marquette University appears to have violated its own non-discrimination policy as well as the principles of free inquiry that govern all great universities," said the letter, from Evelyn Nakano Glenn, director of the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California at Berkeley.
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