Susannah Bartlow Out As Director of Gender and Sexuality Resource Center
“Susannah Bartlow is no longer an employee with Marquette University,” said University Spokesman Brian Dorrington in an email. “We will work with the Center’s advisory board to search for a new director so that we can continue to grow the important programs in the Center.”The obvious inference is that she was fired over the posting of a mural in the office she heads honoring black militant domestic terrorist Assata Shakur.
Certainly, Marquette wants people to draw this inference. Otherwise they would have waited a decent interval after the scandal died down and eased her out.
Interestingly, there is a petition (begun even before the firing was announced) urging Marquette to keep Bartlow.
So how do we feel about this?
Back in the old days of the USSR, there was something known as the “vertical stroke.” If a lower level bureaucrat (an Army officer, perhaps) screwed up, not only was he fired or demoted, his immediate superior got the same treatment. And so did his superior’s superior, right on up. In the army, this could be up to the corps or army level. This had some negative consequences: it created a huge incentive to conceal problems. But it did embody a sound principle: higher level people are responsible for their subordinates. The top people put the lower level people in charge, had the power to fire them, and had the responsibility to properly supervise them.
It’s a shame the “vertical stroke” won’t happen here. Bartlow screwed up badly. But the ultimate responsibility lies with top Marquette administrators, who created a large “diversity” and “inclusion” and “gender” and “sexuality” bureaucracy, hired the kinds of bureaucrats drawn to those offices, and now find themselves embarrassed when the predictable things happen.