Former GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer is accusing Hamline University of rescinding a job offer owing to criticism from faculty over his conservative views. Emmer claims he had a signed contract to serve as an “executive in residence” at Hamline’s business school, but that the appointment fell apart after dissent surfaced specifically over his opposition to gay marriage.
In comments to the Pioneer Press, which broke the story, Hamline spokeswoman JacQui Getty denied that there was any final agreement. “Hamline was in discussions with Mr. Emmer about the opportunity for him to teach a business law class, and we were working together on a proposal that would position him as ‘executive in residence’ within our school of business,” the school said.
But Emmer strongly refuted that statement in comments on his KTLK (AM 1130) talk show this morning. “JacQui is either very ignorant or she is lying,” he charged.
Emmer’s ire is specifically directed at political science professor David Schultz, a frequent commentator on political affairs (including at PIM). Hamline’s student newspaper initially ran an article about Emmer’s apparent hiring with comments from Schultz highlighting faculty concerns. (The article is no longer available on the newspaper’s web site.) Specifically Schultz said that some professors were worried that Emmer’s opposition to gay marriage was in conflict with the school’s anti-discrimination policies and that the hiring did not follow its personnel policies.
Emmer blasted Schultz for his role in the dust-up. “Professor David Schultz is supposedly a non-partisan political commentator that you see on different TV news… shows on a regular basis,” Emmer said on the airwaves. “Well, I don’t know about non-partisan. I think after this anybody who asks him for his opinion better know what perspective he actually has because it’s a very partisan perspective.”
Schultz denies that he took any steps to thwart Emmer’s hiring, insisting that he was merely relaying concerns that he’d heard expressed by others. “I feel like a person who’s caught in the middle of a shooting where I’m the innocent bystander on this whole thing” Schultz told PIM. The Hamline professor points out that he once drafted campaign finance legislation at Emmer’s behest when he was serving in the House. (See my 2005 City Pages story on the episode here.) “I’m literally in the dark on about 99 percent of this stuff,” Schultz said.
During Wednesday’s radio broadcast Emmer characterized the university’s actions as blatant discrimination against him for holding conservative political views. “Apparently university professors get to decide who is tolerant and who is not, and what we’re going to tolerate and what we’re not,” Emmer said, “and they’re not going to tolerate my point of view.”