by Scott Tibbs, March 25, 2008
Imagine you are an employee of a major state university. Imagine that you check out a book critical of the Ku Klux Klan from the university's own library and read it during your break. Imagine then that you are brought up on charges of racial harassment because the anti-Klan book had a picture of burning crosses on the front cover, your reputation tarnished and your employment put at risk. Keith Sampson, an employee at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) does not have to imagine such a scenario, because it happened to him.
The story is laughable because the man falsely accused of racial harassment was reading an anti-Klan book, but the issue goes deeper than that. What we have here is a so-called "university" actually punishing someone for reading about a historical topic. The so-called "university" is actually punishing someone for reading a book from its own library. It does not matter if the book is anti-Klan, neutral or even pro-Klan. What matters is that a so-called "university" is punishing the free exchange of ideas, which should be anathema to an institution of higher learning. What matters is that the so-called "university" is actively discouraging people from educating themselves about history. At a time when people are reading less and less, why would a so-called "university" do this?
Two employees ran like little girls to the so-called "university" because they were "offended" by the book's cover. In response to this whining and crying, the so-called "university" enforced a particularly sickening brand of political Correctness. I believe that there should have been disciplinary action, but it should not have been directed at Keith Sampson. The two crybabies who ran to the university to tattle should be terminated for creating a hostile work environment and bringing false charges against a fellow employee. That kind of disruptive behavior is poisonous to any workplace. Such divisiveness should not be tolerated and should be dealt with harshly.
This matter merits further review by the Indiana State Legislature, which should use the funding Indiana University gets from state government to "persuade" IUPUI to respect the free exchange of ideas and not discourage learning about history. The Legislature should demand that Mr. Sampson not only get an apology, but be compensated for this wrongful and malicious prosecution. These kinds of totalitarian attacks on free speech must be stopped.