As our universities go, so go our courts

Posted: May 19, 2008 12:00 AM
As our universities go, so go our courts

California's Supreme Court has made its contribution to the ongoing debasement of our law, our language, and our culture by legalizing same-sex marriage.

California now has law in the tradition of Groucho Marx who said "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes."

When the court says there is no difference between couples consisting of a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, and that it's irrelevant that only one combination can produce children, who are you going to believe? The court or your own eyes?

This decision shouldn't come as any surprise. The notion that words have meaning, that there is truth, and that we can approach that truth through investigation and integrity of thought is becoming passe in the United States of Fantasyland.

The decision in California fittingly closed out a week in which in Ohio an administrator at the University of Toledo was fired for writing a column in the local paper expressing her personal views about gay rights.

Crystal Dixon, a black woman, and now former associate vice president of Human Resources at the University of Toledo, wrote a counter-point opinion column in the Toledo Free Press addressing an earlier column about gay rights.

In her piece, Dixon challenged equating gays to blacks ("I cannot wake up tomorrow morning and not be a Black woman"), produced income statistics for gay individuals and couples showing them in much better condition than black men, and questioned some allegations made about benefit plans at the University of Toledo.

But perhaps most troubling to those bothered by her column, Dixon said there is a God, that there is an order, and that man has free choice and responsibility for what he chooses.

Heresy in the United States of Fantasyland.

Dixon wrote to intellectually challenge the premises of the earlier column. She expressed no hate and made no suggestions about how anyone should or should not behave toward gays.

As result of the column, she was suspended, then fired, from her position at the University.

After the suspension, Lloyd Jacobs, president of the University of Toledo, wrote an explanatory piece in the Free Press. He did not address or challenge a single point made by Dixon.

The indictment was simply that she violated the "core values" of the university, which include "Diversity, Integrity, and Teamwork."

In other words, if the political culture at the university chose to adopt a view that the world is flat, and a university employee wrote as a private citizen challenging this, it would be grounds for dismissal.

The quality of the argument is irrelevant. The crime is dissent.

Central to the First Amendment lawsuit being filed will be the issue of whether Dixon's column was written as a private citizen or as a university employee. But the technicalities of the legal case are not my subject here.

My concern is the lack of intellectual integrity and dismal state of thought at this particular university and at, in my experience, many universities in the country.

The University of Toledo includes in its mission statement "to advance knowledge through excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement." The Code of Ethics of the Board of Trustees includes ensuring that what is taught "meet the generally accepted standards of truth as established by peer review."

There is certainly reason to believe that premises underlying the university's "Core Values" do not meet this standard of knowledge. The points that Dixon made were rigorous and germane to the discussion. Yet, those running the university could care less.

The blatant hypocrisy of claiming diversity as a goal when clearly there are individuals and points of view that are not welcome goes without saying.

Truth, and the process for discovering it, is being compromised and politicized at our universities. The kids being educated in these intellectual red light districts include our future lawyers and judges. As result, it's reasonable to expect more law of the quality that we just got out of the California Supreme Court.

A nation living in fantasyland does not bode well for the future. We all should be concerned.