Scott Tibbs

A fishing expedition and a hostile work environment

By Scott Tibbs, May 18, 2020

Note: I submitted this letter to the editor on May 11.

It is strange that Indianapolis Monthly is digging up a six month old controversy on an IU professor's tweets. What exactly is the agenda here?

This was explained before, but it deserves to be explained again: Eric Rasmusen is an intellectual. He reads a lot, and he quoted an article someone else wrote. This is boringly normal on social media and was boringly normal for over twenty years before that on blogs and forums - people pick out a quote from an article and share it. It is almost as if people are just discovering how the Internet works. The outrage against Rasmusen is wildly disproportionate to quoting and linking to an article on his Twitter profile.

The fact that Rasmusen's office was moved without giving him any explanation is highly unusual, and combined with Lauren Robel's unprofessional and dishonest attacks on him it is obvious IU is looking for a reason to fire Rasmusen or force him to resign by creating a hostile work environment. If anything, the hostile work environment itself should be investigated, because it may be illegal discrimination.

The attack on Trinity Reformed Church is laughable. The theology of TRC is not "retrograde" to something preached 250 years ago. Thirty years ago, no one would have blinked at a church holding orthodox Christian doctrine that has stood for two thousand years. The false characterization of TRC shows how rapidly society has changed just in my lifetime (and not for the better) and just how ignorant people are about even recent history.

Indiana University is feeling heat from snowflake students, and it is easier to engage in performative outrage than to simply say what someone does outside of his work is none of their business as long as it does not affect his work performance.

A better response would be this: "Grow up. People are going to say thing that you disagree with, both in the workplace and in everyday life. You might as well get used to it now, because you will not always have the diversity police around to soothe your fragile feelings and assure you they also dislike the bad man. If you cannot handle encountering ideas and opinions you do not agree with, maybe college is not the right place for you."

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