Recently, the campus has been stirred by a small controversy regarding a presentation I was to give to the Executive Leadership Club, entitled “Getting Ahead with Integrity and Kindness in a Competitive World.” My address, however, became the focus of some in the LGBT community who protested my coming, not because of what I was to present, but because of my involvement with the World Congress of Families, one of several not-for-profit groups I serve in my spare time.
Though unfortunate, I am accustomed to some controversy because of my association with the Howard Center and the World Congress of Families. When Barrett Beck’s Facebook post about the planned protest first surfaced, the club president and I were left with the decision as to whether or not I would come. I was not dis-invited, but we agreed to cancel my scheduled appearance since the intent of my coming would be overshadowed by those wishing to use my appearance to advance a political agenda at the expense of learning and academic freedom. I did not want to subject students who simply wished to gain some insights into leadership and an ethical approach to achieving success in business to a confrontation by LGBT activists.
It is unfortunate that many universities have ceased to be the bastion of ideas, fostered by vigorous debate, that created a rich tradition of intellectual and academic freedom. Instead, they have been hijacked by hyper-politicized faculty and activists who stifle intellectual exchange and prevent the discussion of issues or even the presentation of ideas – when the idea or the presenter, is perceived by someone of influence to somehow be in breach of current cultural trends.
Beck’s characterization of the World Congress of Families is amateurish and lazy, a portrayal that has been vigorously disputed and is widely discredited. If someone truly wants to learn about the World Congress of Families, reliable sources are available, and they won’t be found in LGBT offices like the Human Rights Campaign or the Southern Poverty Law Center who make millions by fundraising off of perceived enemies. That said, my purpose is not to debate the left. My purpose is to mentor young men and young women, regardless of political or sexual orientation, who want to be productive members of society. Cancelling my presentation was disappointing, but it doesn’t have impact on me personally. The losers are the students who were denied an important perspective about the application of integrity and ethics in business. They, and the university community itself, have been cheated by this protest.
Former CEO of Clark County Credit Union,
Chairman for the World Congress of Families