Why Mark Regnerus should (probably) be fired.

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Yesterday Jeanne Howard, a colleague at Illinois State University, contacted me about a Michigan court case regarding same sex couples adopting. She had briefly mentioned something about this last year when the Regnerus fiasco was erupting, and frankly I really didn’t think she would need anything from me. Surely nobody would use that shit study in a court of law, eh? But, verily there is Marky Mark Regnerus and his little sissy pal Loren Marks listed on the expert witness list called by the state of Michigan to defend not allowing a lesbian couple to adopt some foster kids whose lives they literally saved in the neonatal intensive care room and who they have been parenting, successfully and against all odds, since they were prematurely born and abandoned by their biological progenitors.  A few weeks ago, Marky Mark was in Hawaii! Wow, going all the way to Hawaii to testify about the evils of gay marriage! I’m sure in between he has been lecturing to fellow Christianists about how gays and lesbians molest their children and are bad parents. And, he’s probably flying off to Virginia a lot to see his boyfriend Bradley Wilcox to talk about more “research” that will prevent same sex couples from marrying, adopting kids, getting fertility services, keeping the children they have, or enjoying basic civil rights that other Americans take for granted.

In a perfect world, Mark Regnerus would be fired from his job just for being a total dick. But, in all seriousness, I think that Mark Regnerus is violating his contract with the University of Texas by engaging in extra-university business that amounts to a conflict of interest with his employment as an Associate Professor of Sociology. There are several issues, and I sincerely hope that his department chair will investigate. First is the issue of side-consulting and how much he is being paid for speaking, expert testimony, and private foundation grants, particularly with his faux-research Austin Institute. This is a bald faced attempt to skirt University scrutiny over his finances and his commitments to blatantly political activism. Given that his buddies at Baylor and Notre Dame and Virginia also have these fake research outlets, this gives them all the potential to circle jerk each other with right wing money donated to their bullshit research shops. UT should audit the Austin Institute and demand an accounting of all assets paid to Mark Regnerus in the last three years. If he’s exceeding his allowance under his UT contract (usually this is 2/9ths of your base salary, unless you made a specific deal with upper administration) he should be disciplined, if not fired.

Second, there is the sheer amount of time devoted to political activism. If you want to quit your job and be a political activist, do it. But, you can’t spend all of your time flitting around the world (I know you’ve been to Africa, Marky—have you been to Russia, yet?) trying to prevent LGBT people from gaining civil rights. You can’t count political activism as if it is research. It is one thing to take a few days off and deliver a research paper at another university, it is quite another to give talks to right wing political groups and sponge for more money from those groups to fund your phony research. Most university contracts specify a number of days that one can engage in non-university work—and it is usually something like 30 days. If Mark’s work to deny civil rights has exceeded that total, he should be disciplined, if not fired.

Third, engaging in non-scientific research is not what makes up for his teaching reduction under his contract. It has become abundantly clear that the purpose and motivation for his bullshit studies is to militate against civil rights for women, LGBT persons, and non-Christians. This creepy, purpose-driven “research” is akin to a political scientist whoring himself out to political candidates—that’s not research, that’s another job. Hence, almost everything Mark Regnerus has been doing for the last three years is counter to the expectations stated in his contract with UT. So, even if he didn’t exceed his pay quota or his time allotment, he should be disciplined by having his teaching load raised to what non-research faculty would teach at UT.

In any case, if this really does go to trial I may be seeing little Marky Mark and Loren Marks in Michigan, because I’m gonna be an expert witness for the plaintiffs. See you in Detroit, motherfuckers.

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12 Responses to “Why Mark Regnerus should (probably) be fired.”

  1. MB Says:

    “I’m gonna be an expert witness for the plaintiffs. See you in Detroit, motherfuckers.”

    Not sure if you are joking or what, because you are not on the witness list. And if you are going to be an expert witness then you shouldn’t be spouting off on the internet about anything having to do with the case or the subject of your testimony.

    • sherkat Says:

      Whatever. I’m not a professional expert witness. I don’t troll around for this shit, and I think my views on Regnerus, Wilcox, and his ilk are fairly well-established and already on the innertubes. So, I don’t see how jabbing in another barb has any influence on anything. I am the foremost expert on how his shitty study got published, I’ve called it “bullshit” in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and I’m a pretty solid quantitative sociologist who knows the difference between a schlock on-line convenience poll with bad questions and no quality control and a scientific study. Most importantly, I’m the guy who knows that in most social sciences this study would have been retracted, but in sociology the editorial norms are different.

  2. Dr. Eric Anthony Grollman Says:

    I tripped over “little sissy pal” and “to see his boyfriend” — surprisingly homophobic comments in a post advocating against other scholars’ anti-LGBT work. But, I otherwise concur, and appreciate your effort to take this kind of scientific homophobia down.

    • Karen Blair Says:

      I concur – those tripped me up as well. In fact the entire tone of much of the written objection to Regenerus does very little to help the cause of improving research. Destroy the study, point out the flaws and fraud, uncover conflicts of interest – but the name calling and sarcasm only serves to make justified arguments sound like petty complaints. It is even worse when we try to defend lgbtq rights by invoking homophobic langauage against our opponents. In most cases though we can trace such incidents to femmephobia – underscoring how ingrained femmephobia is within the queer community. 😦

  3. MB Says:

    Sherkat: Your response above is an argument as to why you should be retained as an expert. But that is different from what you initially wrote, which is that you were going to be retained. As I mentioned, you are not on the plaintiffs’ witness list, which BTW is a public doc that you can check out yourself. So unless you have some news to break, you are not going to be a testifying witness.

    Of course, there’s always the possibility of a consulting, non-testifying expert arrangement, but if that happens, you shouldn’t be telling the internets about it unless the plaintiffs give you permission.

    Now a question for you: you are very familiar with the Regnerus study. I believe only 2 respondents were raised by gay couples who were fairly comparable to the control group. Although I know we could never draw any legitimate conclusions from data provided by just 2 respondents, I am still curious if you saw the data that pertained to those 2 and if you did, what the outcomes of those 2 respondents were.

    • sherkat Says:

      Yeah, you’re right. But, nah, I don’t give a fuck about two non-random people. At that point, why not just present non-random people selected from the public? That isn’t science. There is nothing scientific about the Regnerus study. It is not a probability study, and it isn’t “probability based” or “population based”, whatever the fuck that means. It’s a convenience sample with extremely bad measures of “gay parenting.” It is worthless and we shouldn’t be talking about ANY of it.

  4. sherkat Says:

    I try to maintain hegemonic masculinity to compensate for shaving my legs and prancing around in spandex.

  5. MB Says:

    How grateful we should all be to “Dr.” Grollman for policing our language and letting us know what is and isn’t morally acceptable. “Dr.” Grollman of course, is a real moral authority in this society, or at least in his own mind. And he is Important. That is why he uses his title “Dr.” even though he is nothing more than a recent recipient of a PhD in one of the many useless and laughable branches of what is known as “cultural studies.”

    In any event, “Dr” Grollman calls himself and gay people “queer” and has admitted on his blog that he closets himself in his class and does not come out to his students until after evaluations are in. Not someone whose judgment I would trust, but then again what do I know?. I am not a doctor.

  6. sherkat Says:

    Yeah, MB is right, my impertinence makes me unqualified to testify on anything related to these issues. I hope that those who are will have the training and skill to counter Regnerus. He’s not dumb, just evil. I’m especially worried about people like Gates, who has used similar shit data and defended them publicly. You can’t nix Regnerus when you do the same shit he does.
    But, I do have a soft spot for Dr. Grollman’s research. I was hoping to see his GSS based paper examining sexuality differences in political values published soon. He scooped me on that, the fucker. I’ll never get mine done after getting hoodwinked by coauthors years ago. It’s a valuable topic. And, his PhD is in sociology from a top program, and his new paper in JHSB is an outstanding contribution.
    But, Regnerus and Wilcox are both effeminate based on any scale one may conceive of (they will never, ever, be voted for Bear of the Week) and they are also strong opponents of civil rights. It makes you think about those psychological studies showing that men with homosexual desires express homophobia.

  7. Conditionally Accepted | Oh, The Haters… Says:

    […] a comment to “Why Mark Regnerus should (probably) be fired,” by Dr. Darren Sherkat, MB […]

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