Marquette University has pulled an offer to hire a new dean for the College of Arts and Sciences from a lesbian who has written scholarly works on gender and sexual orientation, a move that is sparking criticism from faculty and a protest by students.
A university spokeswoman said the decision to withdraw an offer to hire Seattle University professor Jodi O’Brien wasn’t about her sexual orientation or the quality of her scholarship. It did have to do with some of O’Brien’s published writings "relating to Catholic mission and identity," Marquette spokeswoman Mary Pat Pfeil said.
"This was a decision based on a totality of factors, specifically related to the fit for the candidate to the college," she said in an interview.
In the end, the Jesuit school determined O’Brien was not an "acceptable candidate for permanent appointment," Pfeil said in a statement released Thursday afternoon by the university.
"At this time, the only comment I can offer is to confirm that I was offered the position of Dean and I accepted it, but there was an intercession by the President before my appointment was announced officially," O’Brien said in an e-mail Thursday evening. "I’m stunned and disappointed."….
Dr. O’Brien is currently employed by Seattle University, another Roman Catholic (Jesuit) institution. It is unclear how Seattle considers Dr. O’Brien fit, but Marquette does not.
Based on everything I have read, Dr. O’Brien has strong evidence to seek relief in the courts.
It is very sad that the majority of comments in the Journal Sentinel defend Marquette.
This will undo much of the goodwill Marquette received for honoring the Little Rock Nine on Feb. 9, 2010.
The Little Rock Nine was a group of African-American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The ensuing Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, and then attended after the intervention of President Eisenhower, is considered to be one of the most important events in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. On their first day of school, guards at the school would not let them in and they were followed by mobs bearing threats to be lynched…..