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The BFC’s Proposed Resolution Criticizing the Business School’s Invitation of General Pace

January 16th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Bloomington Faculty Council has been having some discussions
of interest to those concerned about homosexuality and free speech.
All boldfacings below are by me.

Here are excerpts from the resolution (
November 18 text

WHEREAS in a March 12, 2007 interview with the Chicago Tribune,
Pace said, “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are
. I do not believe the United States is well served by a
policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way… As an
individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our

WHEREAS on March 13, 2007, Pace released a statement reading, “In
expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some
personal opinions about moral conduct. I should have focused more on
my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views.” He
declined to apologize or to retract his statement equating
homosexuality with immorality….

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that although we fully endorse the
concept that speakers representing all viewpoints should be invited to
campus, when speakers representing controversial viewpoints are
invited, effort must be made to facilitate open discussion and the
exchange of ideas. We therefore believe that during General Peter
Pace’s visits to campus this year, the Kelley School should facilitate
opportunities for Gen. Pace to be interviewed by the press and to
appear at forums in which members of the community are welcome and may
ask questions, and to invite a speaker of equivalent stature who holds
contrary views concerning homosexuality. Efforts to date are not

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that it was inappropriate to award Gen. Pace
university honor, the Poling Chair in Business and Government, when
his views on homosexuality are so offensive to university policy and
many members of the university community, without any advance
guarantee that he would participate in an open and meaningful dialogue
about his views.

the November 18 Bloomington Faculty Council Minutes:

Brian Horne, Music:

HORNE: Personally I’m bothered by this. I mean there are many details,
you know, with which I sympathize but at the heart of the matter it
seems to me what trying to punish somebody for something they

To me at the heart of the matter, I understand why people would be
offended, but what we’re saying is ‘you have to believe what we
believe or we’re going to make it hard on you.’ That’s not what we
should be doing, and we certainly shouldn’t be saying ‘we’re a
university, we’re open to all, we’re open to diversity, but if you
don’t believe what we believe we’re going to make it hard on you to
come here or to get an honor from us or to do anything else.’

James Biles, Geography:

BILES: … Yes, you know a diversity of views is appreciated, but
think morally and ethically, you know, there’s no requirement to
tolerate intolerance and these views are intolerant.
like to see him dishonorably discharged from his, you know,
appointment, but I guess that’s not going to happen.

Bryan McCormick, HPER:

MCCORMICK: Well, I’m just curious that this strikes me that we’re
making as a campus body a dictate to that unit without inclusion,
discussion, you know. I would be concerned in my school if I learned
from the BFC something that we are being told we had to do without
even knowing it was coming.

Brian Horne, Music, and Alex Tanford, Law:

HORNE: I’m sorry, one other question and I recognize this is
stretching it quite a bit. Certainly in the School of Music we have
people that are just world renowned musicians all the time some of
which are given titles and some of whom just come and give masters
classes, things like that. We don’t know their views on this issue or
any other,
because they were never in such a prominent, you know,
position, but why is it different that it just happens that we know
this issue. This issue is not what drove his appointment or what gave
him this honor. It just happened that his previous appointment called
upon him to answer questions regarding this. If Leonard Slatkin, you
know, the world famous conductor is coming to join our faculty, we
don’t know what he thinks about anything, and we don’t need to know.

TANFORD: I don’t really have a response to your point, but certainly
there are people who are highly distinguished in the music field,
many of them very elderly, if they’re still alive at all, who had an
active association at one point with Nazi Germany, where their views
would be clearly known. And I guess we saw this as the equivalent of
giving one of them a distinguished honor
which would be hugely
offensive to the Jewish community or that was the way we saw this.

Lucas Fields, IUSA President, student, and Alex Tanford, Law:

FIELDS: I actually had a chance to speak with the general, and one of
the things I asked him about was his recommendation to authorize force
in Iraq, which he also did as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and I
guess what I’m perhaps concerned about with this body is there a
that’s being drawn, that there are certain things that the faculty are
willing to be concerned about but not others? Is his view on that war,
which is controversial in a different light, something that should
also be addressed? And are we singling something out versus a whole
host of things I think could be found to be controversial on this

TANFORD: We are singling this out. We are the Diversity and
Affirmative Action Committee,
concerned about protecting the
rights of
minorities who are historically and currently, presently discriminated
against and the gay and lesbian community is number one on that list.
And that’s the reason. This is like race a generation ago.

Patrick Harbison, Music, and
Alex Tanford, Law:

HARBISON: Will the School of Music have to stop programming

TANFORD: Only if – no. (laughter)
HARBISON: I mean you see what
TANFORD: Are you planning on giving Wagner a distinguished
university honor?
HARBISON: No, but I would say that a performance
the MAC is a fairly distinguished honor.
TANFORD: But that’s the
essence of the distinction. A performance at the MAC is an ordinary
participation in the university process. If it is accompanied by Gwyn
Richards coming out and giving the person a distinguished award, then
it moves into a different level of symbolism and it is that second
level that we are concerned about, not the first.

Daniel Sloat, IUSA Vice President, student:

SLOAT: I just wanted to say first as a Kelley student I felt that
school did a very good job in distancing themselves. I felt that they
were in no way in the wrong. They made very clear that they did not
support his personal beliefs, and most importantly to keep in mind he
was invited to and subsequently awarded for his leadership experience.
He was not brought as a controversial speaker, not as someone who has
a certain view.
If that had been the case, then it would certainly
encouraged and, I think, appropriate to bring someone with an
alternative view. So being someone extensive leadership experience,
don’t think it’s fair to put him in the same kind of light that calls
for ‘where’s the other viewpoint?’ because being brought as a person
with leadership experience the other viewpoint would be someone
without leadership experience.

Padraic Kenney, History, and
Alex Tanford, Law:

…KENNEY: …Yeah, I know, but I feel like some of your responses
really come down, you know, to his personal views…


KENNEY: … some rest more on professional and maybe clarifying the
difference between the two…

TANFORD: There is no…

KENNEY: …and
a stand based on one or the other.

TANFORD: He was the one who
attempts to characterize these as merely personal views, and that’s
why to try to put in his version of it and put some balance is why
those statements are in there.

KENNEY: Well then let me draw
to the last line in the fourth paragraph on the first page, “General
Pace’s beliefs regarding homosexuality, which are grounded in his
religious faith, reveal an inherent bias against homosexuality.” Why
are we bringing in his religious faith? I’m looking at the quotes that
are above there and while I don’t doubt that elsewhere in that
interview he talks about his religious faith, he doesn’t in what has
been quoted here. And so now we’re saying ‘well, actually this has to
do with religious faith,’ but maybe they’re excusing, that, you know,
you have to understand this is religious faith or it maybe a
complicating or whatever factor, but I’m not quite sure, you know, how
do you put that in there. That’s essentially saying ‘we are interested
in his beliefs.’

TANFORD: I would say the committee was persuaded
an argument made by some members of the committee that one could make
a case that holding fairly extreme antihomosexual views based on a
particularly narrow interpretation of religion is itself a minority

KENNEY: But how is that relevant here?

therefore needed to be mentioned in terms of the balance since we’re
the Diversity and Affirmative Action Committee and that we are
concerned about religious discrimination as much as we are about
discrimination against homosexuality.

Nick Clark, GPSO – Political Science, graduate student:

CLARK:… it’s a discussion I’ve been a part of in several different
committees on how to best recruit minorities to come here and increase
the diversity of the campus and I have to think that this is relevant
to that, in that if we include minorities that we want to recruit as
gay and lesbian students, the fact that we bestow honors on someone
that makes these statements, whether they’re right, whether they’re
wrong, whether it’s the place of the Faculty Council or the university
to take positions on it, but that we’re bestowing honors on it from a
very pragmatic point of view I would think that that could deter
certain gay and lesbian students from attending this university which
is the exact opposite of what the campus seems to want to do in its
recruiting initiatives.
And I think that’s got to be at least, you
know, minimally relevant to an issue like this.

Herbert Terry, BFC President, Telecommunications:

TERRY: Okay, I wasn’t on the (inaudible) subcommittee, but I hope you
will consult with the faculty governance body of the School of
Business. When we take this up again I would like to know what role
they played in it, if any, and what their recommendations to the Dean
were, what they think of it. The second thing is borrowing from my
experience in telecommunications, the Federal Communications
Commission for a long time tried to enforce a kind of a fairness
doctrine requiring that opposing views on controversial issues be
presented by broadcasters. It eventually concluded that that

The BFC membership list is
in case you’d like to check which professors and students
vote on this.

A footnote:

Americans interviewed in Gallup’s 2008 Values and Beliefs poll are
evenly divided over the morality of homosexual relations, with 48%
considering them morally acceptable and 48% saying they are morally

The BFC will not be voting on the resolution on January 20, since the committee is trying to redraft it. Presumably it will come up in the February meeting.

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