Ink Paper Words' Profile

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Pacific Northwest, United States
In elementary school, I desperately wanted my mother to order books for me from those flyers Scholastic hands out to kids. She refused, citing the "perfectly good library down the street." I exacted revenge by becoming a card-carrying ALA accredited reference librarian. Ha! Take that!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Employment, Lifestyle Statements and Conscience

During his 14 years at Shorter University, Michael Wilson, a librarian, built a library collection for the college’s satellite campus in Atlanta. He shaped his post as the first full-time librarian for adult and professional students. Then he won tenure, and planned to stay at the Baptist college in Rome, Ga., until retirement.
Instead, last week, he effectively handed in his resignation.

In October, the college announced it would require all employees to sign a “lifestyle statement” rejecting homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, drug use and drinking in public near the Rome, Ga., college’s campus.

Good on you, Mr. Wilson, for standing your ground. I suspect, as you apparently do, that the university won't go for you crossing out the bits you disagree with, and it's just a damn shame. Why isn't it enough anymore to be competent at what a person does professionally?

I've always thought that it is no employer's business what I do on my own time -- unless they feel like paying a 300% FTE salary -- and you know that ain't a-gonna happen. That said, however, there are a couple of private colleges in my area that have posted in the usual places recruiting librarians. I read through their faculty "morals" clauses and don't bother applying. Which is too bad, because many of these positions otherwise sound fascinating. And frankly, I think many of the students at colleges like this are too sheltered and they can only benefit from being exposed to people like me. (I'm not gay, but I am divorced. My partner isn't divorced, but he's been legally separated at least 18 years).

Michael Wilson is my new librarian hero. Right up there with Nancy Pearl and Sanford Berman. 

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