May 7, 2010

Open Forum with Jodi O'Brien

This video is hosted by Marquette University, a Q&A session with faculty and students and Prof. Jodi O'Brien, who is now at the hub of controversy. It was filmed at Marquette in February so she's no stranger to the area (and reportedly was house hunting in Shorewood).

Here Prof. O'Brien is auditioning for the faculty. She was a serious contender to become dean of the university's College of Arts and Sciences and in fact was offered the gig, but on account of some paragraphs she wrote a decade ago, the offer was rescinded.

She's extremely impressive. Knowledgeable, professional, articulate, engaging, and she handles every inquiry — many of which are profound — with real understanding and directness. She's also steeped in and appreciative of the Jesuit tradition of education.

It's no wonder at all that Prof. O'Brien was offered the position. She sure must have written something awfully awful indeed.

In her cover letter (.pdf; 5 pgs.) to Marquette's employment agency dated December, 2009, Prof. O'Brien is perfectly forthright about her research interests: "exploration of the social psychological processes of managing the contradiction of being Christian and homosexual."

It's sociology. They use anecdotes drawn from individual human experiences in their scholarship. Was someone offended by an anecdotal description lifted from a research paper in anthropology?

Wouldn't be surprised. Human behavior is occasionally offensive.

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