A dean at the University of Oklahoma’s law school resigned his administrative post this week after the student newspaper delved into what he wrote about women and gay marriage in a 2014 book.
Brian McCall’s writings on how women should not wear pants or leave the home to work stirred up controversy on campus. The OU Daily labeled them “sexist” and “homophobic” in a story published on Sept. 30.
According to the Norman Transcript, an earlier story reported that McCall was the new editor of the media outlet Catholic Family News, which has been described as a group that preaches anti-Semitic hatred by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website.
“The designation is mainly to do with the anti-Semitic views espoused by its former editor,” the Transcript wrote.
Though he resigned as an associate dean for academic affairs at the OU College of Law, McCall will continue to teach classes “on contracts, business law and corporate law,” The Oklahoman newspaper reported.
“I didn’t want to prolong the controversy or attention,” McCall told The Oklahoman on Wednesday.
“I am told that the outside investigators found my work record to be impeccable and found no wrongdoing on my part. The most I am told that I have been accused of is that my beliefs might hypothetically cause me to act improperly toward some people.
“I’ve never in 13 years (at OU) had a student complain to me or anyone else.”
McCall told USA Today that he was “forced by a mob reaction to resign my administrative responsibilities” and is “saddened that I have had to give up the opportunity to work for our students simply because of my sincerely held Catholic beliefs.”
The student newspaper detailed parts of McCall’s book, “To Build the City of God: Living as Catholics in a Secular Age,” which it reported was published about a month after he became a law school dean.
“The book contains McCall’s views regarding parts of his traditionalist Catholic beliefs about gender roles, same-sex marriage, education, politics and economics,” the OU Daily wrote.
“In a chapter of the book called ‘Modest Contact With the World: Women In Pants and Similar Frauds,’ McCall stated that women are obligated to hide their natural curvature by wearing skirts.”
The OU Daily quoted this passage, which it said came from McCall’s book: “Women must veil their form to obscure its contours out of charity towards men. To know that women in pants have this effect on men and to wear them is thus a sin against charity as well as modesty.”
In another chapter about marriage, “McCall wrote that marriage’s first goal is procreation and that same-sex marriage is ‘insanity,’” the student newspaper reported.
Joseph Harroz Jr., dean of the university’s law school, wrote a letter to the “OU Law Community,” on Tuesday announcing McCall’s voluntary resignation and saying that he does not agree with the statements in McCall’s book.
In the letter, posted to the law school’s Facebook page, Harroz wrote that an outside law firm through the university’s Equal Opportunity Office did an independent review “due to the concern” about those statements and that it had “uncovered no evidence of workplace harassment or discrimination.”
“The OU College of Law is a place of inclusion,” Harroz wrote. “Beyond ensuring the college is free from illegal harassment or discrimination, the college must prepare tomorrow’s leaders – our students – for the world in which they will serve.
“It would be a disservice to them if we did not provide an educational experience that presents diverse subject matter, encourages thoughtful conversation and debate, and prepares them to practice in an increasingly diverse world.”
“He was never anything but kind, fair and extraordinarily helpful to me as a student. I never felt discriminated in any way, for any reason in his classes, or in my encounters with him as an administrator,” former student Bre Little, an Oklahoma City paralegal, told The Oklahoman.
“I can first-handedly speak to how this man treated me as a woman, as a student, and as a human being. And I believe that stories like mine have a place in the dialogue before everyone casts stones.”
McCall told the Oklahoman that some of the claims leveled against him are inaccurate. He told USA Today that the views he wrote about “should be taken in the context of the entire book and that he should be judged by his actions,” the newspaper wrote.
The Transcript reported that McCall’s position as a professor gives him academic freedom to express his personal views under university policies as long as they don’t interfere with his work.