Seattle U. instructor weighs in on O’Brien case

Via Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, a letter circulating the inboxes of the faculty at that other Jesuit institution, Seattle University, where O’Brien chairs the anthropology and sociology departments:

Mara Adelman, Ph.D.. Associate Professor

Dear Colleagues:

It is an understatement, that I find the incident regarding Jodi O’Brien at Marquette, our sister Jesuit university, very disturbing.  I’ve been a staunch advocate for Seattle University dealing with sexuality issues; including devoting our first 2003 Academic Salons to “Sexual Justice.”   Ironically, our very first salon, (of over 170 salons in a 3 year period) was with SU faculty, who spoke about their sons and daughters who were gay.  It was a powerful salon for students and faculty alike; the room was packed.

If you recall Jodi O’Brien was our first convocation speaker for Academic Salons. Jodi representing Seattle University at this convocation took a great deal of courage.  Prior to her talk, administrators were concerned that students might be “traumatized” by the topic of sexuality (and an out lesbian), and that we “might need to have counselors waiting after her talk to help students.”  Needless to say, after these insults, the other renowned speaker cancelled his presentation.  I told Jodi, I understood if she did not want to speak.  But she did not hesitate, and she offered her title, “Silence is Costly: Education as a Tool for Sexual Awareness, Responsibility and Personhood.”   I remain very inspired by that act.

ACADEMIC DAY: Keynote Address

“Silence is Costly: 
Education as a Tool for Sexual Awareness,
 Responsibility and Personhood”

Guest Speaker:
 Jodi O’Brien, PhD

As Jodi’s colleagues, how are we going to react to Marquette University’s action?  How do faculty model social justice?  At minimum, I think we need to offer a letter of solidarity and support to Jodi.  We might consider forwarding this letter to the President of Marquette University.  Perhaps we might consider asking our own SU Jesuits, SU President and SU Provost to send protest letters or join us.

Perhaps some of you have other ideas?  I am overwhelmed with getting next weeks workshop finished—but I remain deeply committed to offering Jodi a sign of solidarity from her colleagues; and a major protest by our SU faculty to Marquette University.  Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. 

With deep sadness and sincerity,
Mara Adelman


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