Indiana University has received hundreds of requests calling for a controversial professor to be fired, and a provost has called his views “racist, sexist and homophobic.” But the school says that, while the professor does not represent its values, he is protected by the First Amendment.
Eric Rasmusen is a professor of business economics and public policy at Indiana University, where he’s been teaching since 1992. He recently came under fire after he tweeted an article from Unz.com — which calls itself a collection of “controversial perspectives” excluded from mainstream media — called “Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably.” [Continue reading…]
The First Amendment is strong medicine, and works both ways. All of us are free to condemn views that we find reprehensible, and to do so as vehemently and publicly as Professor Rasmusen expresses his views. We are free to avoid his classes, and demand that the university ensure that he does not, or has not, acted on those views in ways that violate either the federal and state civil rights laws or IU’s nondiscrimination policies. I condemn, in the strongest terms, Professor Rasmusen’s views on race, gender, and sexuality, and I think others should condemn them. But my strong disagreement with his views—indeed, the fact that I find them loathsome—is not a reason for Indiana University to violate the Constitution of the United States.
This is a lesson, unfortunately, that all of us need to take seriously, even as we support our colleagues and classmates in their perfectly reasonable anger and disgust that someone who is a professor at an elite institution would hold, and publicly proclaim, views that our country, and our university, have long rejected as wrong and immoral. [Continue reading…]