Indiana University has ruled out sacking a university professor who said that gay people should be banned from teaching to stop them from abusing students.
The university is under pressure to sack Professor Eric Rasmusen, a professor of business economics and public policy, after homophobic, sexist and racist posts emerged online.
Rasmusen’s views came under scrutiny online after he tweeted an article that claims women are “destroying academia,” claiming that “geniuses are overwhelmingly male.”
Man you guys know I hate leaving names in, but this can’t continue being a thing pic.twitter.com/T4hmcSIpfp
— SheRatesDogs (@SheRatesDogs) November 19, 2019
In other resurfaced posts, he referred to a woman as a “slut,” claimed that black students are “generally inferior academically” to white students, and called for a ban on gay teachers, elected officials and doctors.
In a 2003 blog post, he wrote: “A second reason not to hire homosexuals as teachers is that it puts the fox into the chicken coop. Male homosexuals, at least, like boys and are generally promiscuous. They should not be given the opportunity to satisfy their desires.”
Despite anger at his comments, Indiana University has ruled out sacking the professor, who has taught there since 1992.
Indiana University won’t sack professor because of ‘First Amendment rights’
Lauren Robel, the university’s Executive Vice President and Provost, acknowledged the academic had “used his private social media accounts to disseminate his racist, sexist, and homophobic views.”
However, she made clear: “We cannot, nor would we, fire Professor Rasmusen for his posts as a private citizen, as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids us to do so. That is not a close call.”
Business school dean Idie Kesner added: “While many have called for the professor’s dismissal, there are legal reasons why the University cannot dismiss him over his postings.
“Like all of us, Professor Rasmusen has First Amendment rights. While his stated opinions are at odds with our individual values and beliefs and those of our institution, we cannot prohibit his freedom of expression in his private social media accounts.”
However, the university said it would implement protocols “to protect our students or colleagues from bigoted actions,” making the professor’s classes optional and requiring double-blind grading on assignments.
Eric Rasmusen won’t apologise for anti-gay comments
In a response on his own website, Rasmusen has refused to apologise for his anti-gay comments, referring to it as a “Twitter kerfuffle.”
He said: “I am on record as saying that homosexuals should not teach grade and high school. I don’t think they should be Catholic priests or Boy Scout leaders either. ”
He added: “It would be worth accepting the risk of sexual harassment if Indiana University had a chance to hire the best organist in the world to teach here even though he were known for his immorality, though we would need to warn him strongly that he should behave himself while on the job.”
Drew Anderson of GLAAD, who attended the university, said in a statement: “Professor Rasmusen has now created an environment in Bloomington where students representing marginalized communities, like LGBTQ Hoosiers, have to worry about who they are as they experience what otherwise is an inclusive campus environment.
“Indiana University is the first place where I came out and truly found acceptance for being LGBTQ, and this environment should not be threatened by the illogical and debunked ideas of one person – even if they are on university staff.
“Students and faculty must take action and report any instance they feel their academics or overall well-being may be affected by Professor Rasmusen, who has shown he doesn’t actually believe in the values of IU.”