Way back in February, this Indianapolis Observer picked up a story from NUVO about Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis employee (and student) Keith John Sampson, who received a letter (dated 25 November 2007) from Lillian Charleston, of IUPUI’s Affirmative Action Office.
The letter begins by saying that the AAO has completed its investigation of a coworker’s allegation that Sampson 'racially harassed her by repeatedly reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan by Todd Tucker in the presence of Black employees'." It concludes that this action -- "repeatedly reading the book" -- was deemed racial harassment.
(Needless to say, Sampson was astonished that he would be reprimanded for reading a scholarly book, checked out of the IUPUI library, on his break time!)
Now, Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal has picked up the case, placing it in the context of the current presidential race (the headline reads "American Politics Aren't 'Post-Racial'").
Inexplicably writing that Sampson worked at Purdue University, instead of IUPUI [note: this has been corrected in the online version], she recounts the student/employee's saga, noting that "Purdue's latest follies highlight a widespread problem".
It's worth noting that while NUVO blacked out the name of Sampson's accuser, Rabinowitz names Ms. Nakea William as the co-worker who leveled the charges of reading a book with "inflammatory content" against Sampson.
"In April," Rabinowitz writes, "having been pressed by the potent national watchdog group FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) as well as the ACLU – University Chancellor Charles R. Bantz finally sent them a letter expressing regret over this affair, and testifying to his profound commitment to freedom of expression. So far as can be ascertained, the university has extended no such expressions of regret to Keith Sampson."
There will doubtless be more on this egregious case; IUPUI should be deeply ashamed of its actions.
Check out this and this and this and this for more commentary on the situation.
Yep. Everybody's writing about this...except The Indianapolis Star.