COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — On Dec. 5, Ohio State President Gordon Gee jokingly referred to “those damn Catholics” at a university Athletic Council meeting in the context of frustration he expressed about trying to negotiate with Notre Dame in years past over joining the Big Ten. Gee also criticized priests at Notre Dame, Southeastern Conference schools, the University of Arkansas football coach and others. A sampling of the dozens of responses Ohio State and Gee received immediately after The Associated Press first reported those remarks May 30:
“Not only are his comments outrageous, but they demonstrate a hostility to a Christian religion. It is time for the board of trustees to terminate his employment.”
—Email sent Friday, May 31.
“I am very disappointed in the manner in which the Gordon Gee inappropriate remarks at the Ohio State Athletic Counsel was handled by the Board of Trustees. I feel the tenor of his remarks deserve an immediate dismissal. I am embarrassed that he is the President of my University….and it is hard enough being a Buckeye in state of Michigan.”
—Email sent Saturday, June 1.
“That remark is a bigoted statement and if you substituted “Jews,” ”Muslims” or even “Blacks” for “Catholics” he would be forced to resign. As a Catholic, I take strong umbrage to his comment and I hope he is reprimanded to the utmost. Shame on OSU!”
—Email sent on Monday, June 3.
“I just wanted to write to send my support and the support of my fellow students. Everyone makes mistakes, and these few statement do not refute your hard work day in and day out for our amazing university. I’m a Catholic Buckeye, and we Catholics have a sense of humor! Thank you for all you do! This too shall pass!”
—Email sent Friday, May 31 to Gee.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to express how much I really appreciate the way you quickly took responsibility and addressed this situation. As a parent of an OSU student, and a Roman Catholic I want to go on record as saying IT WAS NO BIG DEAL!”
—Email sent Saturday, June 1 to Gee.
“I feel that we now live in a sad society where Political Correctness is used as a weapon to discredit our leaders and celebrities. It seems that there are always people out there looking for an opportunity to tear someone down. I personally appreciate the humanity and the humor that you carry with you as you wrestle with the huge undertaking of driving our institution toward excellence.”
—Email sent Monday, June 3 to Gee.