Author's Note: The following is part two in a column series. Part one, Brown Shirts at ECU, can be found by clicking on my column archive.
Hi Mike. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is also Mike, although that may be about the extent of our commonalities. But that is okay. Our strength in in our diversity! Indeed, I am writing to offer a diverse perspective on an email you sent to numerous subordinates using your East Carolina University email address. It follows in its entirety:
“Hi All: The LGBT Resource Office is hosting the program stated below. I would like to suggest that all of us (or as many of us who want to) volunteer for this and get T shirts and have our photo taken as a group representing the HCAS. Alan has said we can do it if I organize it (or something like that). So, are you interested? If so, please email me as soon as you decide and send me a T shirt size. I’ll order the T shirts and then we can get more info on the photo shoot. Thanks for your consideration, Mike.”
As a full professor and an associate dean, you should know that many of your subordinates look upon your "suggestions" as authoritative. You should also know that many of your subordinates disagree with the notion that the homosexual lifestyle is somehow morally neutral. Among those dissenters are, of course, fundamentalist Christians.
This may come as a surprise to you but research shows that homosexuals are not the most un-welcomed group on college campuses these days. The evidence suggests that fundamentalists are the ones who often bear the brunt of academic intolerance. Please allow me to back that claim with a little evidence.
Sociologist George Yancey wrote a great book called Compromising Scholarship. In his survey of sociology professors, he found that nearly half admitted to negatively taking into consideration the fact that a prospective job candidate was a fundamentalist. By contrast, 90% said the fact that someone is homosexual does not matter when evaluation ing him as a prospective job candidate.
This is important because Summer Wisdom is a sociologist who is well aware of such bias. And Summer Wisdom is the one who suggested that you a) pass out "Gay? Fine by me" t shirts to your subordinates, b) photograph those who choose to wear them and c) use the photographs in official university promotional materials.