Affirmative action at IUPUI
Keith John Sampson never thought he could get in trouble for reading a book, especially not on a college campus. But that’s what happened. Sampson is a man in his early 50s. He does janitorial work for the campus facility services at IUPUI, where he’s been gradually accumulating credits for a degree in communications studies. He has 10 credit hours to go.
“Being on that campus has really been an experience for me,” Sampson told me not long ago. It’s an experience that got a lot more complicated last year.
Sampson is an avid reader. It’s been his habit to bring books to work with him, so that he can read in the break room when he’s not on the clock. Last year, Sampson was working in IUPUI’s Medical Science building. It turns out the break room there is across from the morgue, which, as Sampson pointed out, is kind of ironic when you stop to think about it.
At the time, Sampson was reading a book he had checked out from the public library. Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan, published in 2004, features a photograph of the University of Notre Dame’s famous golden dome on the cover. Its author is Todd Tucker, the publisher is Loyola Press of Loyola University in Chicago.
The book is about how for two days in May 1924, a group of Notre Dame students got into a street fight with members of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan was meeting in South Bend for the express purpose of sticking a collective thumb in the eye of the country’s most famous Catholic university. Notre Dame vs. the Klan was a Notre Dame Magazine “Pick of the Week” and garnered an average customer review of 4.5 stars on Amazon.com. In its review, The Indiana Magazine of History noted that Tucker “succeeds in placing the event in a broad framework that includes the origins and development of both the Klan and Notre Dame.”
Sampson recalls that his AFSCME shop steward told him that reading a book about the Klan was like bringing pornography to work. The shop steward wasn’t interested in hearing what the book was actually about. Another time, a coworker who was sitting across the table from Sampson in the break room commented that she found the Klan offensive. Sampson says he tried to tell her about the book, but she wasn’t interested in talking about it.
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This guy is literally facing disciplinary action for reading this book. Everyone who objects knows jack about the book. The book's author has joined in defending the man.
"Pornography"? YGTBFKM!!!!! Boogles the mind. I've got to get this book.
H/T to "A Student of History"