Date: July 11, 2019 02:45PM
T.J. Martinson’s grandparents met when they were students at Olivet Nazarene University. His parents did, too, and so it was natural that Martinson followed family tradition, becoming a third-generation ONU student. Even after he graduated in 2013, Martinson kept in touch with the university through his father, who is chair of its communication department. As Martinson neared the end of his Ph.D. program at Indiana University-Bloomington, he applied for a post as an assistant professor in the ONU English department.
This spring, about two months after publishing his debut novel, “The Reign of the Kingfisher,” Martinson received an offer: He was hired to teach classes this fall at the university, which is about 50 miles south of Chicago in Bourbonnais. But Martinson said he was notified on June 28 that ONU was rescinding its job offer, citing complaints that his novel contained profanity and other elements that conflict with the school’s religious doctrine. Although the university will pay him for the yearlong contract, he said, he would not be allowed to teach.
A written statement released by the university declined to “comment on the specifics of personnel matters,” adding: "What we can tell you is that the University has decided not to proceed with the appointment of T.J. Martinson as an assistant professor, which was scheduled to begin this fall. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Martinson said he was told that “a constituent” had raised concerns that portions of his novel demonstrated a lack of Christian morals, citing swearing in the book as well as its portrayal of a lesbian character and prostitution. “One of the more puzzling critiques,” Martinson wrote in a Facebook post about the matter, “concerned a character, who, when presented with the option, decides to hope instead of pray.” Martinson said these concerns were relayed by Carol Summers, ONU vice president for academic affairs. The ONU Office of Academic Affairs said Summers was out of town and unavailable for comment.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2019 02:45PM by anybody.