As a Roman Catholic student at The Ohio State University, I am appalled by the board of trustees’ acceptance of OSU President Gordon Gee’s “retirement” notice.
If Gee had made derogatory comments about Asians, Jews, African-Americans, gays, Muslims, Hispanics or many other ethnic, religious or community groups, the board of trustees likely would have summarily fired him. Rightfully so.
Such deprecating remarks are offensive to good people. Intolerance — particularly from the president of one of America’s largest universities — should not be condoned.
Why then did the board condone Gee’s anti-Catholic comments? Is it somehow different, or more acceptable, to denigrate Catholics than other ethnic or religious groups? Twenty-five percent of Americans are Roman Catholic Christians. Although the university does not publish religious-affiliation statistics, it is reasonable to assume that Ohio State’s student population falls near that range.
Does the board not care that Gee may have directly offended a fourth of those enrolled at OSU, plus at least a significant portion of the non-Catholic student body who finds such comments to be repugnant?
The OSU trustees are shortsighted hypocrites.
However, it is not too late to stand up for what is right. In the strongest possible terms, the board should now condemn Gordon Gee’s comments as not reflective of Ohio State’s principles, and immediately terminate his employment. It will not adversely impact Dr. Gee’s comfortable retirement, but it will go a long way toward re-establishing trust with the trustees.
Charlotte Reardon, Columbus
The writer is a 2011 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown.