Tom Emmer released a letter to the Pioneer Press Wednesday morning. The letter was originally sent to Hamline University’s President Linda Hanson detailing his side of the story about his hire at the School of Business. Though it was originally sent to Hanson in private, Emmer released the letter to the public on Wednesday morning.
In the letter to Hanson, Emmer said that he was offered a position by School of Business Dean Anne McCarthy.
“Dean McCarthy offered me the position as an ‘Executive in Residence’ on September 19 after receiving approval from you and the Dean of Students,” Emmer wrote to Hanson. “We agreed on details, including salaries and benefits.”
The former gubernatorial candidate explained that the only formality left was completing a written contact that Emmer said was to be finalized the week of Oct. 18.
In addition, Emmer claimed that he was hired as an adjunct faculty member on Oct. 6 to teach undergraduate students business law.
“I actually signed all the paperwork for Kris Norman-Major on the same day,” Emmer wrote. “I was subsequently advised that I would be a member of the newly formed ‘Organizational Leadership and Public Policy Department.’”
Norman-Major, who is an associate professor and chair of the department of public administration, was contacted for comment but directed The Oracle to Strategic Communications Director JacQui Getty regarding this issue.
According to Emmer, on Wed. Nov. 16, he attended a staff meeting for the Organizational Leadership and Public Policy Department.
“The meeting was scheduled by Ms. Norman-Major,” Emmer wrote. Emmer also mentioned that he felt associate professor for the school of business Jim Bonilla was not happy to see him at the meeting. Bonilla asked him if he ran for governor and if he was now apart of the Hamline faculty.
“Kris [Norman-Major] then told Jim that I was joining Hamline as an Executive in Residence, and that I would also be teaching a couple of courses,” Emmer wrote in his letter to Hanson. Emmer continued by writing that Bonilla said that he didn’t get the memo about the hiring of Emmer.
Emmer said Dean McCarthy called to inform him that after the meeting was completed, some faculty members present were beginning to “organize opposition” to his hiring.
“She only told me the faculty or other Hamline employees involved were few in number and that the school administration was putting together a public relations strategy to deal with their intolerant and reprehensible behavior,” Emmer wrote.
“During our conversation, Dean McCarthy told me that the final contract documents had been approved and that we could expedite formalizing our agreement the following week of Thanksgiving,” Emmer wrote.
Emmer also wrote that McCarthy later contacted him by phone to inform him that Hamline would not be honoring the agreement, which Emmer described as disappointing.
“I was even more disappointed by what Anne [McCarthy] told me next … incredibly, because of my conservative political views I will not be allowed to teach business law to Hamline students,” Emmer wrote as the reason Hamline would not agree to his hiring.
Emmer says that he was without words after receiving the news. He also stated in the letter that he had been treated unfairly because of his political beliefs before, but said he was troubled that a university that celebrates diversity would not allow him to teach.
“The idea that Hamline students should not be exposed to a wide and diverse offering of ideas and the people who represent and espouse a diversity of thought, is more than just troubling,” Emmer wrote. “Despite the apparent hatred and intolerance exhibited by some in your Hamline Community, I have tried to handle this in the most professional manner possible.”
Emmer explained that he felt there are some that are just not willing to leave the issue alone.
“In the November 22nd edition of the school newspaper, a headline read: ‘Emmer Hired,’” Emmer wrote referencing an earlier article published by The Oracle. Emmer said that after getting contacted by Dean McCarthy, she told him that Professor David Schultz had questioned his hiring when getting interviewed for the story. He also mentioned that Dean McCarthy had stated that the school had managed to take the story off The Oracle’s website.
“Presumably so the article was not be circulated around the Twin Cities media,” Emmer wrote.
Editor’s note: In reality, the article was never published online due to the fact that The Oracle was told by members of the Hamline Administration, including President Hanson and Getty that Emmer was never hired after they read the printed edition. After receiving the confirmation, The Oracle published a retraction, which is posted online. In addition, Emmer never responded to multiple attempts for comment regarding this matter.
In a statement, Getty said, “Hamline was in discussions with Mr. Emmer about the opportunity for him to teach a business law class, and we were working together on a proposal that would position him as executive-in-residence within our business school. Although there were conversations over several months about the opportunity for Mr. Emmer to join the Hamline faculty, there was no finalized agreement between Mr. Emmer and the University.”
Emmer called The Oracle’s retraction entitled “Emmer never hired” as “outrageous and unnecessary.”
“The article contained numerous misstatements of facts including, ‘There was never a formal offer,’” Emmer wrote in a reference to a quote by Getty. “In fact, there was a formal offer for the Executive in Residence position and I was hired as an adjunct professor.”
Emmer went further to ask Hanson some candid questions.
“Madam President, is there a requirement that every faculty member at Hamline conform on the issue of marriage? Is there only one point of view allowed? Is there no political or religious freedom recognized at Hamline? I thought the “mission” at Hamline University was to educate – not to inculcate. Again, this is unnecessary and, frankly, outrageous intolerance by people who claim to hold the high ground on tolerance,” Emmer wrote.
Emmer finished the letter by demanding a retraction and apology from the university. He also requested that Hamline release this statement to the public:
“Tom Emmer and Hamline University had an agreement in principle pursuant to which Mr. Emmer was prepared to raise significant funds for Hamline University to be used developing one of the most unique business school resources in the country. Tom Emmer was also, in fact, hired by Hamline University as an adjunct Professor to teach business law to undergraduates. Hamline University, however, decided not to honor the agreement with Mr. Emmer because of faculty members who objected to a conservative with Mr. Emmer’s political views teaching at the school.”
Despite the long letter detailing Emmer’s disappointments with the university, he thanked both McCarthy and Hanson in his closing remarks.
“I want to thank you and Dean McCarthy. I have found that you both to be professional and class individuals. I’m sure you are as disappointed as I am. What a sad testament to freedom … what a sad reflection on the faculty at your university.”
Attempts to get comment from McCarthy were unsuccessful. McCarthy directed The Oracle to contact Getty for comment.
Updates will be posted as they arrive.