Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lex Rex or Rex Lex?

You'd think that we humans would have learned our lesson by now.  Rex Lex dissolves into despotism, and our hope for law and order is Lex Rex.

Yeah, well, tell that to officials at East Georgia College.

After Professor Thomas Thibeault pointed out that a person incorrectly charged with sexual harassment under the school's code had no recourse, the college by way of President John Bryant Black demonstrated his point.

Black told Thibeault that he "was a divisive force in the college at a time when the college needed unity" and that Thibeault must resign by 11:30 a.m. or be fired and have his "long history of sexual harassment ... made public." This unsubstantiated allegation took Thibeault by surprise. Black added that Thibeault would be escorted off campus by Police Chief Drew Durden and that Black had notified the local police that he was prepared to have Thibeault arrested for trespassing if he returned to campus. At no point was Thibeault presented with the charges against him or given any chance to present a defense. Refusing to resign, Thibeault understood that he was fired.

There's many questions here.  First off, if Thibeault truly had a "long history of sexual harassment," (as defined by the EGC code) why in the world would this college continue to employ him?  Why would this long history only be used as blackmail material instead of being properly dealt with at the time it occurred? 

Second, what happened to the cult of diversity?  And what happened to academic freedom?  All Thibeault had to do was to raise a question which showed a different worldview, and he was removed.  Isn't his worldview protected from slurs?  According to the EGC code, students should be protected from slurs against them based on "race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, age or disability or that of their relatives, friends, or associates..." (yes, gender and sex are listed separately!).  Nope, worldview is not on this list.  Thus, people are sensitized to anything remotely approaching a slur based on sex, but a slur against someone's worldview is acceptable?  Welcome to college.  Diversity is welcome only if it is condoned by the authorities on a college campus.  Laws melt in the hands of college authorities, and the individual has no protection from the capricious dictates of administrators.  Rex is Lex.

It's very shrewd that this college has leveled the charge of sexual harassment against Thiebeault.  Such a charge is so loaded that even a charge such as this is often more than enough for a complete character assassination.  I'm reminded of the U.S.S.R.'s generous application of the term "political."  This term carried horrifying consequences and connotations, and when the penal code was interpreted broadly, anyone could be charged with a political crime.  Thus, starving children picking up bread that had dropped from a passing government truck and a person who absentmindedly used a newspaper with Stalin's picture in it for a carpentry project could be deemed political prisoners.  Without knowing any details of the case, a person labeled "political" was guilty until proved innocent.  But no one ever was.

What's the communistic slogan?  The tallest grass gets cut first?  You and I may not be threatened with allegations of sexual harrassment -- yet.  But we've got to pray for those who are.  Fortunately for Tom Thibeault, FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) has joined his cause.

You can read the fully story here.

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