Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 8, 2018

Chaired Law Prof At University Of Oklahoma Resigns Associate Dean Position Amidst Outcry Over His Book, To Build A City Of God: Living As Catholics In A Secular Age

Build City of GodABA Journal, Oklahoma University College of Law Associate Dean Resigns Over Sexist, Homophobic Writings:

A law professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the Oklahoma University College of Law voluntarily resigned Tuesday after his discriminatory writings about women and same-sex marriage in a 2014 book came to light.

The controversy stems from Brian McCall’s book titled To Build the City of God: Living as Catholics in a Secular Age.

Message From Dean Harroz:

Dear OU Law Community,

I appreciate hearing from those of you who have reached out to me. I understand your frustration and concern about statements made by Associate Dean Brian McCall. I assure you that I do not agree with those statements.

Due to the concerns about those statements, as well as our desire to uphold our values of inclusivity and respect for all people, an independent review was undertaken by an outside law firm through the university’s Equal Opportunity Office. Because of this review, I was asked to refrain from making any comments. I recognize that this has caused additional concern and frustrations, for which I am truly sorry.

I can now tell you that the independent review has uncovered no evidence of workplace harassment or discrimination. Despite this conclusion, Brian McCall has voluntarily resigned his position as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, effective immediately, because of the controversy about his personal statements.

Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink


Are all conservatives created equal in the eyes of the commenters here?

Is this guy who holds religious fundamentalist beliefs about the roles of women in society that are similar in many ways to the Taliban to be granted equal space in academic circles as individuals like Scalia, Roberts, Volokh, Summers, Romney, etc., who have conservative viewpoints but otherwise oppose discrimination against people or race and sex?

Posted by: JM | Oct 10, 2018 7:27:23 AM

It's a curious thing. Conservative professors are pretty much barred from administrative positions. They don't mind, since they're scholars. But it's bad for the universities, worsening the problem that it's people who aren't good at research who go into administration. How do we make the philosophers be kings?

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Oct 9, 2018 4:34:07 PM

It's threads like this that make me wondering just what percentage of Taxprof readers / commenters have the slightest connection to tax law or law school.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 9, 2018 3:07:36 PM

Am I really reading these comments?

Didn't this guy say that women should not participate in any activity that they cannot do gracefully and modestly in a skirt?

Are you serious? These are ideas that a school is required to protect under the guise of academic freedom? This guy should not have any sort of a job teaching in a university.

Posted by: JM | Oct 9, 2018 6:41:29 AM

I keep hoping and waiting for the pendulum to swing back to the center, but alas, it just seems to keep swinging to the left in every aspect of our lives, from politics, media and academia. HELP!!!!

Posted by: len fuld | Oct 9, 2018 6:07:04 AM

Like I said, the message from the Dean says he resigned voluntarily, and it's clear the school was worried about sex discrimination liability. They hired a law firm to do an internal investigation as a prophylactic measure.

Posted by: Don't overreact | Oct 8, 2018 7:38:36 PM

He's not resigning his job. He has tenure. He's just giving up an administrative post (associate dean) that is probably a lot of work for very little extra salary. You're not helping conservative academics by defunding universities or attacking them, you're just making them worse off. If you want to help conservative academics, you can donate money to create a chair in catholic social thought.

Should he have to resign over something like this? Probably not, but there might be a legitimate concern by the school that having him in a managerial / administrative post could set them up for a sex discrimination claim.

Or maybe being an associate dean is a thankless job, and this was just an excuse to return to the faculty. Or maybe there are enough women on the faculty who were offended by his comments that his odds of becoming dean went to close to zero, so working as associate dean wasn't worthwhile anymore.

In any case, no one but above the law really cares what he thinks about women's wardrobes, and I doubt he was forced to resign.

Posted by: Don't overreact | Oct 8, 2018 7:35:23 PM

The War on Christianity goes on. Trump will teach everyone to fight back.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 8, 2018 5:47:22 PM

I wonder what the reaction would have been had he been a Muslim professor basing his book on the Koran, or even an Orthodox Jewish prof?

Somehow I think the religious aspects of his work would have been afforded more deference than was granted to Christian/Catholic doctrine... (and if it matters, I am atheist from a non-Christian background, so I certainly have no stake in his views, other than his freedom to express them).

Posted by: Todd | Oct 8, 2018 1:36:02 PM

Stop resigning and fight back! This was clearly a witch hunt!

Posted by: Jamie Johnson | Oct 8, 2018 1:16:56 PM

It's a culture war that the moral majority is losing.

My old fraternity had its charter pulled by the Christian college for not upholding the ideals of "a [name of university] man." (I think they were drinking on campus.) This was right after the university approved a LGBT social club.

To accept the LGBT social club, that seems less likely representative of men, the university rejected an annual $2 million grant by the church, which felt that such a club was not consistent with church doctrine.

I think I know what constitutes the ideals of a man, and I would rather have the fraternity men fighting for our freedoms and rights than whatever they are from the other club. At least people should be willing to discuss it before overreacting with attacks to ruin lives and families.

There must be a stand against the politics of personal destruction that has taken over the universities and the left.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 8, 2018 10:17:59 AM

If this is what it sounds like—direct intimidation of a professor for expression of unpopular views—it is wholly outrageous. It is always possible that there is another side. But I don't see it here.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Oct 8, 2018 9:53:47 AM

Shut down the law schools?
How? Easy - defund them. No state monies as a 10 year moratorium on funding law schools.
Start with this one.

Posted by: Paul A'Barge | Oct 8, 2018 8:03:05 AM

“our desire to uphold our values of inclusivity and respect for all people”...Right, except for the views with which you disagree. Got it.

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 8, 2018 7:55:48 AM