Controversial U Press book criticized on O’Reilly program

Dan Haugen

State Rep. Tim Pawlenty, R-Eagan, condemned the University Press’ publication of “Harmful to Minors” on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” on Thursday.

“They are hiding behind notions of free speech,” Pawlenty said. “Everyone has a right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to be commercially published.”

Pawlenty has repeatedly criticized the controversial new book, which challenges conventional notions of sex education.

“You’ve got big problems at that university there,” host Bill O’Reilly told Pawlenty. “This book is an abomination, published by a major university in this country, funded with tax dollars.”

Star Tribune columnist Kristin Tillotson defended the book’s publication on the show and accused O’Reilly of reading passages out of their full context.

O’Reilly said University President Mark Yudof and dozens of professors turned down invitations to appear on the program.

“They know this is a piece of garbage,” O’Reilly said.

University Vice President for Research Christine Maziar, who is heading a review of the University Press’ publication process in response to the book’s criticism, was invited but declined due to a previous commitment.

Maziar said she expects the review to be completed by the end of May. She and a team of senior staff from other university presses are conducting the investigation.

University Press director Douglas Armato said he isn’t too concerned with the review.

“The way we look at it is that we’re accountable to the public just like everyone else,” Armato said. “There are no skeletons in the closet. (The review) doesn’t strike us as threatening or improper.”

The book is sold out nationwide, Armato said, and it will go into its second printing next week.

Pawlenty is vying for the Republican Party gubernatorial endorsement against businessman Brian Sullivan.

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