Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Affirmative Action Bureaucracy at Work

Hate and intimidation seem to be tools of the trade. I fear that the story of Keith John Sampson, a student and Janitor at IUPUI, reflects an attitude that is lamentably typical:

May 9, 2008 -- IN November, I was found guilty of "racial harassment" for reading a public-li brary book on a university campus.

The book was Todd Tucker’s "Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan I was reading it on break from my campus job as a janitor. The same book is in the university library.

Tucker recounts events of 1924, when the loathsome Klan was a dominant force in Indiana - until it went to South Bend to taunt the Irish Catholic students at the University of Notre Dame. . . .

But that didn’t stop the Affirmative Action Office of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis from branding me as a detestable Klansman.

They didn’t want to hear the truth. The office ruled that my "repeatedly reading the book . . . constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers." . . .

the $106,000-a-year affirmative-action officer who declared me guilty of "racial harassment" never spoke to me or examined the book. My own union - the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - sent an obtuse shop steward to stifle my freedom to read. He told me, "You could be fired," that reading the book was "like bringing pornography to work."

Ultimately, after being pressured by the ACLU and FIRE, the school backed down.

Combine the self-righteousness of the racial grievance lobby with the cluelessness of a bureaucrat at work, and you have a nasty mix.

Discussions - 9 Comments

Sue. Immediately sue. Sue every single one of them you can haul into court.

Don't take their "backing off." Sue.

Yes. Someone's career needs to be destroyed over this. We are headed for 1984 unless we start getting very tough. "Why do we take it?"

I'd be interested in knowing who filed the complaint in the first place.

Yes, and how "typical" is this? We can agree it is lamentable.

4: Yes, absolutely. 5: You're missing the point, which is not how typical the particular incident is. Word gets around, and the extreme cases of abuse have a chilling effect on many other people. That is the essence of "soft despotism." In addition, there are much subtler and more common forms of punishment than occurred in this case. They too have a chilling effect.

Moser, do at search on the Volokh Conspiracy and I think you can find the answer to your question. They have been all over this for months.

It is pretty remarkable, when you think about it. A state employee was reading a book during his lunch break. Clearly protected by the First Amendment. A co-worker complained about "racial harassment" because the book's title mentions the KKK. Never mind the fact that the book is anti-racism and is about Notre Dame defeating the Klan. Never mind that this is obvious from the title of the book. This guy MUST be a bigot. He needs to be sanctioned.

The employee who complained should be given a time out (is that how we punish temper tantrums nowadays?). Anyone involved in the administrative process who had the opportunity to dismiss the claim, but did not do so, should be fired immediately. Everyone in the University of Indiana system should required to read a copy of the Bill of Rights.

By the way, FIRE does great work. And good for the ACLU for being on the right side of this one. A rarity, but a welcome one nonetheless.

That's a good one: "Notre Dame still can't win a bowl game." LOL. Cold-blooded!

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