Cleveland (WOIO) - When Ohio State University president Gordon Gee remarked a few years ago, at the height of the Jim Tressel/tattoo scandal "I just hope he (Tressel) doesn't fire me", he embarrassed himself. But, when he took aim at Notre Dame last December, saying "you can't trust those damn Catholics", he embarrassed his university. The top trustees told him as much, in a letter sent to Gee on March 11th. The trustees say his insensitive comments have divided the university, and the trustees are certainly wise enough to know how many people Gee offended, and that includes donors.
So where does Ohio State go from here? Should Gee be punished? Absolutely. Imagine if he had made a similar remark about a different religion. The public outcry would likely be far greater. Should he be fired? No.
Gee made his remarks at the university's athletic council meeting. In other words, he likely assumed his ill attempt at humor was their sole consumption. But does that make it any better? It's like any other slur, made in the company of friends, whether on the golf course, in the locker room...you pick the spot. An inappropriate joke is an inappropriate joke, whatever the surrounding, and whoever the audience.
That said, I'm certainly not calling for Gee's head. As offensive as many found this remark, and some of his other "jabs" in the past (let's face it, he's been down this road before), I'm not in favor of calling the political-correctness police every time somebody voices an opinion.
Gee should be suspended without pay for a short term, not only to finally say that these type of comments are not only unacceptable, they're certainly not "presidential", and as Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer suggested, the money that the suspension frees up should go to a scholarship fund, and serve a greater purpose.
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