In the October 8 issue of The Devil Strip, we published a story about Dr. Scott Scarborough’s political history, which includes a failed attempt to win the 1990 Republican primary for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives.
As a candidate, he said he wanted to add child abuse, rape, drug dealing and repeat felonies to the list of offenses carrying the death penalty–and that he wanted capital punishment to be carried out more swiftly.
The story also describes two years leading the Travis County Republican Party during a time when they added “anti-gay” language to their platform, which according to the Austin American-Statesman stated:
“Republicans believe that the practice of sodomy leads to the breakdown of the family unit and the spread of (AIDS). We oppose teaching in public schools that homosexuality is equivalent with sexual expression. No person should receive special legal entitlements or privileges based on sexual preference, to include marriage between persons of the same sex, custody or adoption.”
Dr. Scarborough’s responses, which were sent through university spokesman Wayne Hill, were not shared in time to meet our deadline so we are posting them online here. You can read them below. Note that I’m posting the questions I asked via email, regardless of how the answers line-up.
Chris: “Why he didn’t address these apparently adult beliefs when the comments from his time as student president surfaced? What does he remember about leading a group as an adult that moved to a more conservative stance than before despite objections from within the local party to language linking ‘sodomy’ and the spread of AIDS?”
Scarborough: “As I have said previously, my views – like those of many people – have evolved over time. We all have learned much since those days and, if I knew then what I know now, I would not have taken the steps that I did or said, either as a student in the 1980s or when I was in my later 20s. I sincerely regret any offense or concern those past actions or statements have caused. While I was the head of the county Republican party for a couple of years, I did not write the party platform. I do not support that cited language and I have not been involved in party politics for more than 20 years. During my 30 years of professional life, I have come to understand and believe that our society, and our university, must be inclusive of and safe for everyone. Our university must reflect the diverse composition of the community we serve and offer all capable individuals the means to pursue the American Dream. That statement encompasses everyone, certainly including the LGBTQ community. That is the belief I hold and the policies that this university has established and embraces.”
Chris: “The newspaper also reported, ‘Scarborough called for the death penalty for child abuse, drug dealing, rape and repeat felony offenders – in addition to the current capital crime of murder.’ Are these views he still maintains or does he repudiate those now as he does his beliefs he held about homosexuals as a 21-year-old college student?”
Scarborough: [didn’t answer]
Chris: “Does Dr. Scarborough credit any of his ascent to the connections he had or has in the Texas state and national Republican Party?”
***NOTE: Originally, it appeared Dr. Scarborough didn’t answer the question about whether Republican connections assisted his career assent from CPA to president of a large university. Spokesman Hill clarified the unanswered question is in regards to whether the death penalty should be used when people are convicted of drug dealing, child abuse, rape or repeat felonies. I’ve corrected the story. – Chris ***
Chris: “In another 1990 article, Dr. Scarborough is quoted saying, ‘The voters of Texas want their elected officials to determine whether the public or private sector should provide needed services, then decide where tax dollars can be used for the best possible good.’ Is this–minus the reference to Texas–something Dr. Scarborough would say he still believes? In other words, is that how he would say he’s approached his job at the University of Akron, particularly regarding the efforts to outsource?”
Scarborough: “Regarding your question about the provision of services in the public sector, I believe that we should be looking for the most effective and efficient way to provide those services. In some cases, that can mean that public employees provide them; in others, it may be best for a private company to do so with appropriate oversight by the public entity involved.”