Earlier today, I published a letter from emetrius philosophy professor Robert B. Ashmore to Fr. Wild that went viral and eventually made it to McAdam’s blog. I had lumped Ashmore’s opinions with those of another philosophy instructor, Javier A. Ibáñez-Noé, who characterized the appointment of Jodi O’Brien to the ARSC deanship as damaging to “traditional commitment to respect Catholic teaching” at MU. However, Matt Wion, a doctoral student and MU philosophy instructor commented on that post to distinguish Ibáñez-Noé and Ashmore’s views:
I do not know enough about Ibanez to speculate on his precise positions. I do, however, know Bob Ashmore relatively well. I’m quite sure the Dr. Ashmore does NOT support the rescinsinding of Jodi O’Brien’s job offer. I think he is more of th frame of mind that certain people in our department, Dr. Snow, and several of the PH. D. candidates are using this unjust episode to further their radical race and gender theory agenda.
I would like to emphasize that for many reasons I will NOT side publicly with Ashmore or Snow or against either. I will say, quite publicly, that I am in totatl agreement that Marquette was unjust in rescinding the job offer and morally wrong to do so. I will also say that I think much of the anger and protest is totally justified.
But both Ibanez and Ashmore write from their side of a deeply divided and even hostile Philosophy department. Some members of our faculty and many of our students are fiercly pushing the department into race and gender studies, and area they think should be at the forefront of philosophy. Other faculty members are deeply oppossed to this, for various reasons. Most notably they wish to keep the deparment focused on history of philosophy, and fear that it is being turned into a race and gender studies only-club.
In a private communication, Matt wrote that he meant to say that “‘Ashmore perceives Snow and others as peddling a radical “race and gender agenda’ but I forgot to write the “percieves. I am not claiming that he is necessarily right on that.”
I do not personally have any interest at all in the philosophy of race and gender. I do not study it, nor have any desire to do so. I do not, however, possess the expertise to assess its merits. Nor is it my place to have any say in these department struggles, nor take a side. I am not facutly here and it is not my place to have any input in how the department goes.
My purpose in writing this is to put Bob Asmore into context and to separate his concerns from those of McAdams and probably from those of Ibanez as well.