Fix Features

Butler University

Republican, African-American sociology professor Marvin Scott has felt the need to lead a double life because of his experiences at Butler University.

Many people know Scott for his failed bids as Indiana’s Republican candidate for the Senate and House of Representatives, but those at Butler hardly know him at all or else seem willing to diminish his presence on campus.

“I live a chameleon life. I live one here and I live one for the outside world,” Scott said. “That’s the only way you can survive here.”

Scott said that he counts himself as one of only five Republican faculty members on campus, and noted the stigma attached to his beliefs.

“I guess it’s like someone coming out of the closet,” Scott said. “I came out for what I was all the time: a Republican.”

Scott, an African-American, said he has worked in higher education for 42 years and held many positions including time as the president of historically black Saint Paul’s College in Virginia and vice-chancellor at the Board of Regents of Higher Education for Massachusetts. Scott has taught at Butler for more than two decades in various roles, such as chair of the sociology and criminology department and special assistant to the president.

Scott said that while nearly every liberal arts institution in America faces a vast disparity between the few right-wing faculty members and the many left-wing faculty members, Butler’s leftists stand out.

“I have never run up against such a militant liberal group in all the days of my life,” Scott said.

During his time on campus, Scott said he has faced many incidents of what he identified as “micro insults,” and noted that many leftist faculty members refuse to make eye contact with him.  But some faculty members have acted much more aggressively.

As a prominent Hoosier Republican, Scott said he has kept a photo of himself and former President Bush stashed away in a drawer, but previously displayed it on his desk.

“One of the professors here saw it,” Scott said. “He said, “You don’t know him,” He said, “and that’s a fake picture…” He went running up and down the hall with it.”

But public displays of disrespect are not limited to the faculty.

Scott said Butler president James Danko did not invite him to serve on the newly created Diversity Commission. Danko announced the members of the commission in a campus-wide email in September.

Scott would have seemed an obvious choice for the diversity commission. He almost became the first African-American elected to the Senate from Indiana, fought in the civil rights movement and met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a young student returning from a year of study at the University of Allahabad in India. But Scott’s exclusion may have come as a result of his ideology and not the color of his skin.

Years ago, when a Butler faculty government group considered bringing the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to campus, Scott said he and another black professor were the only two faculty members to vote against the measure.

“I said no that we should not celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday,” Scott said. “I said let’s call it Civil Rights Day. I said one of my heroes is John Brown. Thurgood Marshall. I said these are people I’d like to see also honored on that day.”

From Humble Beginnings

Marvin Scott is more than a simple contrarian. In order to understand and appreciate his worldview, Scott’s detractors need to understand his past.

“They think that I am not a part of the black mainstream,” Scott said, “so therefore any insult they issue to me will not be felt by the people they are trying to help. Whatever.”

Scott grew up in a poor household, as one of seven children in North Carolina. Three of those children received doctoral degrees, with Scott earning his Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Along the way, Scott worked two shifts a day, seven days a week in a glass factory. As a family man with four children of whom he is very proud, Scott is a Presbyterian who learned his work ethic from his parents.

Scott said his parents awoke every morning at 5 a.m., and his mother worked as a beautician and his father as an electrician and also as a chauffeur.

When Scott drove 123,000 miles crisscrossing Indiana “virtually by myself,” as the Republican candidate for the Senate opposing the incumbent Democrat Evan Bayh, people were not sure what to make of it.

“They said, “Where’s your driver? Where’s your entourage?” I said, “Here he is,” ” Scott said. “And I say, “That’s the way I’ll run government: no fat. Don’t need a driver. I’m capable of driving.”

Many Hoosiers were surprised he came alone and thought that it meant he didn’t have money and couldn’t pull off a successful campaign.

Scott said he wasn’t sanctioned by the GOP establishment and did not receive any money from the Republican Party, but raised $2.5 million and took 37 percent of the vote against the incumbent during his failed 2004 Senate campaign.

The only person who won an election against an incumbent Senator in 2004 was Republican John Thune of South Dakota, the man who followed Scott on stage at the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden.

“I was out in the woods somewhere in Indiana and a woman told me, she says, “I’m voting for Evan Bayh because he’s so handsome.” I said, “Well I’m not a damn duck,” Scott said laughing. “You know give me a break. How do you beat someone that’s more handsome than you are?”

Former President George W. Bush appointed Scott to serve on the National Council for the Humanities in 2008. Scott then lost another election in 2010 as the Republican candidate for Indiana’s 7th Congressional District, which includes the city of Indianapolis in Marion County.

“To get blacks to vote for me in Marion County would be like me trying to win the Powerball—it’s just not going to happen,” Scott said.

Scott said that while he has no plans to run for office in the future, “you never know.” No one has beat a path to his doorstep asking him to run again, he said, but if they do they’ll need to bring money because he thinks it’s a rich man’s game now.

“History will only remember me as the person who ran and almost won, but never won,” Scott said.

Refusing to Stay Quiet

Many Butler alumni remember Scott as a favorite teacher, and he proudly showed letters he has received each year from alumni. Scott said he loves teaching.

But exactly how many students get to meet Scott may depend upon the actions of faculty members who willfully neglect him at every turn.

Last year marked the first instance in Scott’s entire time at Butler in which a professor from the Political Science Department has asked him to speak to a class, he said. That professor has since left the university, but the Political Science Department still remains a few steps away from Scott’s office.

“Wouldn’t you think you had someone who has run for Senate, run for the House of Representatives, wouldn’t you be beating the damn door down to have me come down and at least say something?” Scott said. “That’s the whole issue right there.”

And Scott’s not the only one who has faced such treatment from Butler. In 2010, World Magazine reported that Butler “had a shot at landing U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts as a commencement speaker but voted it down.”

Economics professor Bill Rieber told the magazine that the Faculty Senate missed the opportunity to engage the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States because it had concerns about bringing too many “right-wingers” to campus.

“This was an ideological vote,” Rieber said. “One person said Roberts was not in favor of a woman’s right to choose.”

Scott said he generally does not spend time worrying about the people who neglect to include him because of his opinions, but he did speculate about their motivation.

“Maybe they don’t think I’m smart enough, maybe they don’t think I’m adequate, maybe my politics, you know I could conjure a hundred thousand things,” Scott said. “How does that make me feel at night? I don’t care, because if I cared, I’d have a stroke. I’m not going to let these people get in my psyche. Screw them. Got it?”

Scott said he would turn 70 in March.

“I’m never going to be respected as an academician because half these people don’t know what I do or give a damn what I’ve done. Got it?” Scott said.

Being ostracized eventually led Scott to live a kind of double life–quiet about his political beliefs on campus, while remaining vocal about them elsewhere. Nevertheless, the opposition of leftist academics will not change him, he said.

Scott has also served as radio talk show host on stations in Boston, Mass., Richmond, Va., and Henderson, N.C.

In a forthcoming book, Scott plans to open up about his experiences as a African-American conservative entrenched in the liberal world of academia.

“So I’ve decided to stay here, don’t write any more books, don’t write any more columns, and just wait until I’m out of here and then I’m going to write what I have to say.”

Scott is ready to speak out publicly about his experiences because he is close to retirement and plans to name names in his book.

“They can sue me later, but you know I’m going to say what I have to say.”

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a senior at Butler University.

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A few weeks ago, The College Fix broke the story about a course at Pasadena City College devoted entirely to porn. Fix contributor Jack Butler explained in his report:

First offered last spring, the class is a for-credit elective open to all students and does not require any prerequisites. In just one year, it’s come under national scrutiny after its instructor, Professor Hugo Schwyzer, invited a porn star to speak to its students.

But Schwyzer defended Navigating Pornography in an interview with The College Fix, calling the subject matter legitimate.

“(The course) focuses on giving students tools to understand pornography as a historical and contemporary phenomenon,” Schwyzer told The College Fix. “Students today live in a porn-saturated culture and very rarely get a chance to learn about it in a safe, non-judgmental, intellectually thoughtful way.”

The course doesn’t merely consist of viewing pornography. In fact, students do not view porn inside the classroom. Instead, they watch it on their own time as homework. Assignments include journals, a research paper, and a final exam, Schwyzer explained.

Mr. Butler’s report on this porn course attracted a lot of a attention in the new media, garnering links from The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, Buzz Feed, and even got a mention from humor writer Dave Barry. The story went on to garner international attention, as with this report from Nación in Chile.

It’s a remarkable impact for a mere student journalist. But it’s the kind of thing we’re growing more and more used to here at The College Fix. Here are just a couple of further examples:

Contributor Ryan Lovelace’s report on his professor’s assertion that students must disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom garnered national attention and put Butler University administrators on the defensive.

Contributor Katie McHugh’s story about Allegheny College’s masturbation seminar held inside a campus chapel garnered links from Drudge, The Daily Mail of London, Fox News, and even provided material for a joke during Jay Leno’s opening monologue on The Tonight Show.

All jokes aside, our student reporters are shedding light on the appalling decline of academic standards in higher education, and they are doing the job of educating the public about the radical moral and political agendas polluting our colleges. In other words, they are reporting on stories that, oftentimes, would never see the light of day otherwise, if we had to rely on the mainstream media to inform us.

We are extremely proud of the investigative reporting our young writers, such as Mr. Butler, Mr. Lovelace, and Ms. McHugh, are doing–opposing the stifling liberal orthodoxy on our campuses, and giving voice to issues that are important to political conservatives, libertarians, people of faith–all the folks who are normally marginalized on our nation’s left-leaning college campuses.

As we near the end of another academic year–one that has been marked by explosive growth in readership for The College Fix, which has been visited by millions of readers already in 2013. Our non-stop stream of exclusive investigative articles that have shed light into the dark corners of elite liberal academia–and it’s all due to the hard work of our writers, who are juggling classes and sports and extracurricular activities in addition to their journalistic work.

I want to take a moment to recognize the excellent work of our student reporters. This site exists, foremost, to provide a platform for the conservative journalists of tomorrow. Here on these pages, talented students hone their skills and publish meaningful work long before they enter the professional world.

So here’s to our student contributors, who are doing so much today to inform the public of the truth on campus–and to their bright futures.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of Sex & God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

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The College Fix presents its Top Ten Most Outrageous Stories of 2012, in no particular order:

The Saga of Sandra Fluke

Who knew Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” would be the best thing to ever happen to her? After that, the Georgetown University law student became the spokeswoman for government-subsidized condoms, a victim of the GOP’s alleged “War on Women,” and the darling of the Left, with a spot at the DNC podium and a TIME person of the year nominee. But it wasn’t always so rosy as of late for the newly minted lawyer. During the presidential campaign, when Fluke traveled the country to speak at colleges in support of Obama, she was lucky to draw a couple dozen students, tops. More recently, The College Fix broke the news Fluke was auctioning off an hour of her time for charity. The lucky winner would receive a “Skype” conversation. And no refunds.

Professors Unabashedly Support Democrats, Obama’s Re-election

It’s not even close. Story after story on this website and others reveals professors gave to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign over Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s bid by a margin of about 9 to 1, and roughly the same margin is found when comparing educators’ donations to Democrat versus Republican political candidates – a perfect illustration of the lack of campus diversity. Several College Fix exclusives highlighted this phenomenon, including: Top Obama Campaign Contributors This Year – Professors; Many California University Leaders Back Democrats; and Donations Go to Democrats, Not Republicans, at SUNY Purchase.

‘Sex and God & Yale’ Exposes Ivy League Perversion

Published in August by College Fix Editor Nathan Harden, Sex & God at Yale covers many of the shabby low points of sex at the university: Live nudity in the classroom, oral sex seminars, masturbation how-tos and other examples of dedicated folly. Beyond sexual perversion, the book details examples of academic negligence and a blind devotion to political correctness and moral relativism. One such example is how Yale’s art department approved a phony senior art project that was supposed to consist of the blood and tissue from numerous self-induced abortions. Underlying problems addressed in the book is that Yale, along with other leading universities, has used academic freedom as an excuse for abandoning academic standards.

Podium Turns Into Pulpit During Science Lessons

A renowned University of California-Riverside professor advises students that to save Mother Earth, they should eat vegetarian, only have 1.5 kids – two at the most – take up social justice causes, and lower their standard of living. A Duke University professor names a new fern genus she describes as bisexual after popstar Lady Gaga, and further says the different methods plants reproduce celebrates homosexuality in humans. A prominent UC Berkeley professor links ignoring global warming with watching people die during a guest seminar. These three College Fix exclusives published this year illustrate science is far from black and white, and fairly regularly, professors use the subject as an opportunity to proselytize.

Butler University Student Spotlights Politically Correct Class

A College Fix contributor highlighted a political science professor at Butler University who asked students to disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom. It was a very well-written and important story, but generally speaking, it’s the type of article The College Fix publishes frequently. But for some reason, this particular story resonated with the masses. It became a phenomenon, reportedly talked about by the likes of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. On the internet, it went viral, read by tens of thousands of people and recommended more than 5,000 times on Facebook. We’re glad it did, but there’s more where that came from. Different students, different professors, different schools. Same problem. Stay tuned.

Jesus, Obama, MLK: What’s the difference?

“The Gospel According to Apostle Barack” is the title of a book penned by a Florida A&M University professor who compares Jesus with Obama and says God told her in a dream to write it. Professor Barbara Thompson argues Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr. walked the Earth to create a more civilized society, but Apostle Barack, the name he was called in her allegedly divinely inspired dream, walks the Earth to create a more equalized society. “Now that he’s been re-elected he is going to help the middle class and working poor experience living heaven here on Earth,” she says. “That is a lifestyle.” Maybe she should have compared Obama with Santa Claus.

Universities Nationwide Snub, Criticize Christ

There’s the War on Women. The War on Drugs. The War on Terror. The War on Christmas. Well, what about the War on Jesus? A College Fix survey of hundreds of religious studies classes at universities across the nation uncovered that, for the most part, professors prefer to snub the subject of who Jesus was and what he preached. Classes that are focused on Christianity, meanwhile, tip-toe around or altogether avoid the topic of Christ’s teachings. Jesus Christ is – without question – the most influential figure to ever walk the Earth, but professors clearly prefer to offer electives on much more obscure matters, which a summary of the survey details in earnest.

Harvard University’s Incest-Fest

At Harvard, students paused from studying things like philosophy, history, or the sciences, in order to celebrate something called “Incest-Fest.” Incest-Fest is, essentially, a campus party where making out and hooking up with as many people as possible is the goal. It gets the “incest” name because the event is open only to residents of Kirkland house–one of Harvard’s undergraduate residences. Thus, students who are living together (as if they were members of the same family, get it?? Incest? So funny, right?) are having sex with one another. America, this is your best and brightest. Are you proud?

Student Athletes Who Cheat, and the Grown Ups Who Let Them

A College Fix series this fall looked at the recent cheating scandals at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, examining in detail the already-heated discussion of just how much influence college athletics has over academia. The articles delved into the important concerns that athletic programs wield too much power and lack sufficient accountability at the collegiate level. The articles also takes to task the NCAA and others in power for the ongoing scandals that not only rocked Harvard and UNC, but other colleges across the nation over the years.

Whites May Launch Race War After Losing Election

As outrageous as that sounds, that’s the hyperbole coming from leftist professors nowadays. Par for the course. In this instance, The College Fix exclusive shined the spotlight on a lecture given at Columbia University after President Obama won re-election, which – according to this professor – marked the end of “Anglo Saxon” domination over the United States and the beginning of a possible race war between whites and Latinos. The professor, Linda Martín Alcoff, a well-known philosopher from the City University of New York, went on to connect an increase in recent gun purchases to whites arming themselves for some sort of possible race war against Latinos. Aye Yai Yai.

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Butler University is striking back at the student whose recent article exposing anti-male, anti-white, anti-heterosexual bias at the university has gained national attention.

In the original article, Ryan Lovelace, Butler student and Fix contributor, explained how he was presumed guilty of racism, sexism and homophobia when he enrolled in a political science class taught by a black female professor:

Butler University asks students to disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom – a practice the school’s arts and sciences dean defended as a way to negate students’ inherent prejudices…

Clearly, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University believes its students were raised as racist and misogynist homophobes who have grown to harbor many prejudices, a stance that is both offensive and hostile to any student’s ability to learn.

As a student at an institution predominantly focused on the liberal arts, I expected to hear professors express opinions different from my own. I did not expect to be judged before I ever walked through the door, and did not think I would be forced to agree with my teachers’ worldviews or suffer the consequences…

Presumably, Lovelace did not expect to be singled out and publicly criticized on his university’s website either, simply for expressing his views.

Penned by fellow student Andrew Erlandson, and published on the university admissions office blog, two articles on the university’s official website take aim at Lovelace for blowing the situation “out of proportion” and for failing to be “adaptable.”

One article, entitled “The Real Problem is the Student,” takes direct aim at Lovelace. “’To write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm…’ is rather reasonable for a political science class,” the article states.

The university seems to have missed the point of Lovelace’s complaint, which had to do with presumption of guilt inherent in the above statement–as well as the hypocrisy behind the idea that American-ness, maleness, whiteness, etc. must be singled out as invalid in an academic world that creates entire departments dedicated to narrow world views such as black studies, chicano studies, women’s studies, or gay and lesbian studies.

The failure of left-wing academics to recognize the hypocrisy of continually talking about the need for “diversity” while simultaneously seeking to suppress or discredit people who happen fall outside the left’s list of favorite victim groups shows that diversity is the last thing on their minds. This is about class warfare, gender warfare, and perpetuating racial grievance.

Nevertheless, Lovelace’s article has helped focus national attention on the issue of liberal bias and reverse discrimination in the classroom. (See here, and here, and here, for just a few examples.) In so doing, Lovelace has advanced the true and proper goals of higher education, which are to advance knowledge and provide a forum for free academic expression–not to demonize white male heterosexual Americans or enforce speech codes.

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A political science professor at Butler University asks students to disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom – a practice the school’s arts and sciences dean defended as a way to negate students’ inherent prejudices.

The syllabus of the course at Butler, a small Midwestern liberal arts institution in Indianapolis, spells out that students should use “inclusive language” because it’s “a fundamental issue of social justice.”

“Language that is truly inclusive affirms sexuality, racial and ethnic backgrounds, stages of maturity, and degrees of limiting conditions,” the syllabus states, referencing a definition created by the United Church of Christ.

The syllabus of the class, called Political Science 201: Research and Analysis, goes on to ask students “to write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm.” It is taught by a black, female professor.

In an interview with The College Fix, Jay Howard, dean of Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, denied this practice essentially presumes every student who walks through the door is a racist or misogynist.

He said students must be told not to assume such prejudices because such assumptions are ingrained into the culture and remain there until questioned. With that, a liberal arts education questions these assumptions, and such questions can make for uncomfortable situations, he said.

“Sometimes in order to broaden the conversation and broaden the understandings you’ve got to risk making people uncomfortable,” Howard said. “There’s nothing about a college education that guarantees you won’t be made uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, if you’re never made uncomfortable in your college education, you’re not really getting a college education.”

Howard said the college he oversees does not want students to continue to harbor such assumptions without question, “but neither do we want to exclude the dominant group in society in our attempts to make sure that we’re leveling hierarchies.”

In twenty years, white people will no longer be the majority, but they will still be the largest ethnic group, Howard said. He said using inclusive language would help students prepare for a changing world as America becomes more diverse.

He added that American culture makes speaking inclusively difficult, and the English language is partly to blame.

“Our language doesn’t make it easy to write in ways that are inclusive,” Howard said. “We don’t have a generic singular, I mean we have he and she. There is no pronoun that is gender-neutral there.”

However, not all writing- and language-intensive classes at Butler University mandate students use such “inclusive” language.

Nancy Whitmore, director of the journalism school in the College of Communication, said in an interview with The College Fix that students in her department are encouraged to use diverse sources with a wide variety of opinions, but are not mandated to use so-called inclusive language.

Whitmore said she is unsure what educators in Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences mean when they ask students to write without assuming certain things to be the norm.

“I don’t think I could ever write from a black woman’s point of view because I’ve never been a black woman,” Whitmore said.

Indeed.

My name is Ryan Lovelace, and I dropped that politically correct political science class.

Clearly, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University believes its students were raised as racist and misogynist homophobes who have grown to harbor many prejudices, a stance that is both offensive and hostile to any student’s ability to learn.

As a student at an institution predominantly focused on the liberal arts, I expected to hear professors express opinions different from my own. I did not expect to be judged before I ever walked through the door, and did not think I would be forced to agree with my teachers’ worldviews or suffer the consequences.

Being judged and forced to act a certain way is antithetical to how any institution of higher education should conduct itself.

As a journalism major, I will now strive to avoid the liberal arts college as much as possible, not because the college fails to provide its students with any practical knowledge, but because the college seeks to indoctrinate its students with a hostile paradigm that views people like me—an American, white, heterosexual male from a middle-class background—as evil; whitey-righty need not attend.

Many consider higher education to be in turbulent waters because of rising tuition costs and student loan debt, but students who actually graduate may struggle even more if they view the world as Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences does.

The liberal arts college seeks to include people, but someone will always be excluded, as it is impossible to always include everyone. Furthermore, I’m not sure how to write assuming any other persona but my own. Any attempts to do so would only be offensive to people different from myself.

Lastly, the idea that people have different views from mine is not what makes me uncomfortable. The idea that I must walk, talk and act as the liberal arts college pleases does. I’ll speak as I always have and conduct myself in the way I deem fit. I think paying $40,000 a year should give me that basic right.

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a student at Butler University.

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