Wednesday, May 26, 2010

State Government Bullies Target Marquette Over Dean Search Fiasco

A press release from the office of Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton.
MADISON - Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton, in her capacity as chair of the Wisconsin Arts Board, sent the following letter today to Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art Director Wally Mason:

At its May 14, 2010 meeting, the Wisconsin Arts Board voted unanimously to defer action on the Haggerty Museum’s application for a fiscal year 2011 Creation and Presentation grant until our meeting September 11, 2010.

The Wisconsin Arts Board members expressed unanimous concern that serious questions suggesting discriminatory hiring practices at Marquette University had been recently raised in the press and remained unresolved. Board members asked for more time to investigate and ensure that any grant approved was consistent with our mission as the state agency which “nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage.” Our clearly stated values include “freedom of expression” and “respect and appreciation for all cultures and people.”

We welcome any materials you believe may be instructive as the Wisconsin Arts Board studies the situation and weighs their decision. I will inform you of that decision immediately following the September meeting.
Of course, private individuals have the right to support or not support a private institution, depending on their beliefs. But this is government action, discriminating against Marquette for protecting its (supposed) religious identity.

Now this raises an interesting question for those politically correct people who think it an outrage that people outside Marquette (including the local Archbishop) intervened in a hiring decision made by Marquette, insisting that a lesbian dean candidate whose writings flatly opposed Catholic teaching on sexuality was inappropriate.

Supposedly, “academic freedom” requires that Marquette not be responsive to any outside forces.

So what are these people going to say now that state government is trying to intervene in the affairs of Marquette, in effect punishing the University for a hiring decision they dislike?

We know the answer to that. Those folks will be citing this as a reason Marquette needs to get on the politically correct side of the issue and forget Church teaching.

Another irony: the Board invokes “respect and appreciation for all cultures and people,” and then shows it is willing to trample on people who adhere to a Catholic view of sexuality.

It seems that just as “diversity” only involves the espousal of ideas and values congenial to politically correct people, “respect and appreciation for all cultures and people” only includes “cultures and people” that liberals happen to agree with.

If the Board turns down the Haggerty grant, Marquette should sue for religious discrimination. It’s doubtful Marquette will do this, however. The Administration (and Fr. Wild) let a rogue search committee pick a dean candidate radically at odds with the Catholic nature of the University, and then embraced the search committee decision.

Then, when opposition in the local Catholic community emerged, it rescinded the job offer.

So even when Marquette happens to be making the correct decision, it does it for craven reasons.

So we doubt the Administration will have the guts to treat this use of government power to bully Marquette as the outrage it is.

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