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  • hamline3By Ron Meyer, Young America’s Foundation

    Tom Emmer, a well-known conservative leader and radio host in Minnesota, has called out Hamline University for reneging on their offer for him to teach business law as an “executive in residence.”

    In fact, according to an article from Hamline’s paper, the Oracle, the university had already hired Emmer, and Emmer has also provided an email (below) to Young America’s Foundation from a school administrator stating that he was going to teach business law in the spring.

     hamline1

    Hamline University has yet to fully explain the reasoning behind the reneging—or preemptive firing—of Emmer, but faculty statements and Emmer’s account of the events point clearly to ideological discrimination.  

    Here’s the university’s official statement:

    Hamline was in discussions with Mr. Emmer about the opportunity for him to teach a business law class, and we were working together on a proposal that would position him as executive-in-residence within our business school. Although there were conversations over several months about the opportunity for Mr. Emmer to join the Hamline faculty, there was no finalized agreement between Mr. Emmer and the university.

    hamline 2This isn’t the full story, and there’s a clear reason why this statement leaves out any context. Emmer reports that, in fact, business school dean Anne McCarthy had agreed to hire him. When he attended his first faculty meeting, professors were clearly annoyed by the hire, and purportedly organized to get him removed because of his conservative beliefs.

    One professor has even come out to explain why he and others protested the hire. The Pioneer Press reports (emphasis added):

    Jim Bonilla, an associate professor in Hamline's business school, said he wrote to McCarthy with concerns about Emmer's appointment and that he knows of two other professors, outside the business school, who raised concerns with Hanson.

    He said he doesn't know whether faculty concerns about Emmer factored in the administration's decision not to hire him.

    For Bonilla, listed on the school's website as a consultant on diversity in higher education and the founding director of Hamline's "Race, Gender & Beyond" program, there is a business case and a social justice case to be made against Emmer.

    And hiring someone stridently opposed to gay rights goes against the school's ethic of nondiscrimination and works against training the staff does on creating safe spaces for gay and lesbian students, Bonilla said.

    "That would be money wasted," he said. Not hiring Emmer allows Hamline to make a decision "congruent with our values and a sound business decision," Bonilla said. (Full Story)

    Hamline’s unexplained decision seems to link pretty closely with these faculty complaints—based solely on Emmer’s conservative beliefs. Bonilla’s complaints falsely presumed that because of Emmer’s stance on marriage (held my millions of Americans), Emmer would discriminate against certain students.

    The grand irony here is that Bonilla and Hamline University discriminated against Emmer for his beliefs. Liberals consistently preach tolerance, but then are never tolerant to conservative ideas.

    Young America’s Foundation calls for Hamline University to come clean with their discriminatory hiring practices. If higher education is about being open-minded, prove it. Hamline ought to renew the offer to hire Emmer and fulfill their obligations.

    We will continue to update this breaking story.

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