Many Iowans were, simply put, totally appalled. (As a Nebraskan with lots of friends in Iowa, I can attest to the outrage, which has consumed my Facebook feed for weeks. I can also attest that this Tumblr is extremely entertaining.)
Some Iowans are calling for Bloom to lose his tenured professorship and six-figure salary. Bloom told The Post that he has no plans to quit.
And isn’t that the point of tenure? To make sure that professors can express their opinions — no matter how controversial — without threat of losing their jobs? Or is this situation different because Bloom is a journalism professor?
UI President Sally Mason received nearly 20 e-mails last month from alumni, taxpayers and donors encouraging her to fire Bloom. Some threatened to stop donating if he didn’t disappear, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, which received copies of the e-mails through a public records request.
One e-mailer wrote: “What an embarrassment for your institution.” Another: “So for twenty years I have helped pay this guys salary along with every other tax payer in the state of Iowa and he repays us like this?”
Meanwhile, a group of Bloom’s colleagues at the journalism school wrote an op-ed calling Bloom’s piece “bad journalism” but did not address whether he should return to teach alongside them. (Bloom is currently doing a visiting professor at the University of Michigan.)
They wrote: “We do not believe, as he does, that good journalism entails scathing attacks on powerless people, nor do we endorse any work riddled with inaccuracies and factual errors and based on sweeping generalizations and superficial stereotypes.”
In an interview with Sally Quinn of The Post, Bloom said that he plans to return to Iowa and enjoys teaching there. He said the outrage over his Atlantic piece has prompted him and his family to hide out in an “undisclosed location.” Bloom said that these experiences, along with being Jewish in an uber-Christian state, add to the social diversity of the university.
“I’m not a farmer’s son,” he said. “And I’ve got as much to learn from my students as they can learn from me.”
So, what do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.