American Council for Polish Culture
Ohio State President Gordon Gee Should Be Censured for Polish Slur
January 23, 2012Chairman Leslie H. Wexner
Board of Trustees
The Ohio State University
210 Bricker Hall, 190 North Oval Mall
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1358
Dear Chairman Wexner and Trustees of Ohio State University,
In behalf of the members of the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC), a national confederation of affiliated and supporting organizations located in 18 States, who are dedicated to fostering an interest in Polish heritage, history and culture and to spreading an awareness of the accomplishments of Poles and Polish-Americans, Im writing to express my deep concern and dismay at University President Gordon Gees unacceptable comment that your staff .."were shooting at each other .like the Polish army" and his half-hearted apology after inserting both feet in his mouth.
The ACPC strives to educate social studies teachers through participation in the annual National Conference for the Social Studies (NCSS) by providing them with accurate resource material and study guides for teaching Polish history and culture. Armed with these materials, the teachers are then able to include in their school-mandated diversity programs information about the history and culture of Poland and Poles accomplishments and worldwide contributions.
At the very least, Professor Gee is ignorant of the Poles brilliant, valiant and courageous history on the battlefield. Allow me to enumerate a few: the Poles defeat of the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410; King Jan Sobieskis defeat of the Turks at Vienna; the Miracle on the Vistula, the decisive battle of the Polish-Soviet War in 1920; the Battle of Monte Cassino, which opened the road to Rome, something no allied troops were able to accomplish; the Warsaw Uprising, where Poles held out for much longer than expectedfor two months--believing that they would be relieved by the Soviets; the Battle of Britain, where at the peak of fighting, every eighth pilot was a Pole. No. 303 Squadron became the highest scoring fighter squadron in the Royal Air Force. Thousands of Polish soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well. Oops, I almost forgot those two heroesPulaski and Kosciuszko, who left their native Poland to fight for U.S. Independence! I assure you that in every one of these instances, and many more, the Poles were shooting straight!
With almost half a million Polish-American taxpayers in your state and very few Polish language and literature courses and no classes in Polish history, I urge you to put your universitys not inconsiderable state appropriations to good use by offering such classes. Professor Gee should be the first to enroll! In all seriousness, I urge you to publicly censure Professor Gee for his ill-conceived and offensive comment. Its most difficult to comprehend that such a remark emanated from the mouth of a university professor!
Im enclosing a copy of a most illustrative brochure entitled, "For Your Freedom and Ours", which tells the story of the Polish experience in World War II and highlights the many battle fronts where Poles fought valiantly. I highly recommend that you and Professor Gee read "A Question of Honor", authored by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud, which provides a revelatory history of Poland during the Second World War and tells the little known story of the Kosciuszko Squadronstraight shooters all.
Very truly yours,
Deborah M. Majka, President
Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland
cc: Professor Gordon Gee
Reply ReceivedDear ACPC Members,
Below is the response I received from President Gee, himself. In a separate e-mail, I have offered ACPC's expertise to help organize the academic forum on Polish history that the university is considering. We'll see if they take us up on our offer.
Thank you for copying me on your letter. I appreciate you writing to share your concerns and suggestions regarding my unfortunate comments. And, I want to assure you that I truly regret my statement, and have apologized for my comments.
I do want to note that I am working with the University's faculty in our Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures, as well as with the Director of our Center for Slavic and East European Studies, to explore the possibility of hosting an academic forum on Polish history for our students and others within the University. The intent is to make my mistake into a positive opportunity for learning. And, I appreciate your input as we work to develop some of these ideas further.
Again, thank you for writing.
E. Gordon Gee