After Butler University, another Indiana university is now embroiled in online free speech debate. This time it is a Purdue University Professor who is facing lot of criticism for his blog post-which he maintains on his own time and using his own resources, where he stated his views against homosexuality.
Professor Bert Chapman, a Government Information and Political Science Librarian, maintains a blog at Townhall.com titled Conservative Librarian. On October 27, he posted “An Economic Case Against Homosexuality”
“As a Christian, I agree with the biblical condemnation of the homosexual lifestyle. However, we are living in a nation and world that increasingly rejects biblical norms. To defend traditional sexual morality against the encroaching threat of homosexuality and other aberrant forms of sexual expression, we need to be able to do more than cite Bible verses. Fortunately, there are plenty of economic reasons for being against this lifestyle and I think as conservatives we need to be able to articulate why our nation cannot afford the extremely high financial costs of this lifestyle at a time when we are confronting dangerously high budget deficits, national debt, and personal debt.”
In the post, Professor Chapman has articulated his views on homosexuality-using economic data.A number of students and various student groups are not happy about the post, some even questioning whether the Professor should lose his job.
At Queerty, a blog focused on Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered rights, a blogger asks “Should Purdue Students Be Forced to Pay the Salary of a Bigoted Professor?”
“As these students point out, Chapman and his sympathizers will claim free speech, which the man is certainly entitled to. And college campuses should, absolutely, be filled with a wide variety of voices and opinions to encourage dialogue and free thought. That, we're on board with. But we certainly understand the frustration of students who see their tuition dollars paying the salary of a bigot, who abuses his university business cards to perpetrate misinformation and outright lies. Sure, depending on how Purdue slices it, some of Chapman's salary might come from grants or donors, not students’ tuition. But it doesn't change the situation: By keeping Chapman on campus, the university implicitly endorses his homophobia. Would they keep a racist on their faculty?”
But not everyone who is criticizing Professor Chapman's post wants him to lose his job.Alex Blaze at Bilerico says
“Going for his job is a bad tactic. I understand that there are many students who wouldn't want to be taught by this person, especially the queer students, but if he's not discriminating against students in class or harassing them while on the job (which is entirely possible considering how bonkers his townhall.com rant is, so I suggest students who have this professor pay attention and remain vocal), part of going to college is learning how to put up with these sorts of situations and people.
Several students have written to the school paper asking for the him to resign, but several others are taking the more appropriate “give Chapman shit” route:”
Purdue University spokespersonJeanne Norberg has stated that Professor Chapman's blog is protected speech under First Amendment
“Norberg said Chapman acted within university policy by including a disclaimer on his blog that his viewpoints do not necessarily reflect those of the institution.
“There are many things on the Internet that would be offensive to many but that are protected by the First Amendment,” Norberg said. “The best response is to speak up, which is exactly what our students and some faculty are doing.”
The University's student newspaper The Exponent has received lot of letters regarding the issue, from both sides. Kevin Casimer,senior in the College of Liberal Arts, in his guest commentary for Exponent says that Professor Chapman has right to express his opinion but his position is detrimental to Purdue as a University
“In the case of Chapman, he was hired and given tenure with the expectation that he would contribute positively to the reputation of Purdue. If his colleagues and employers believe he is instead having a detrimental effect, they have every right to say so.
The people who are speaking out publicly against Chapman, for the most part, are not asking that his comments be taken down or that he apologize for them; they are not trying to stop him from exercising his freedom of speech.”
Paul Deignan,Senior in the College of Engineering, says that attacks against Professor Chapman “is seed of censorship”
“I am unable to understand why they think it’s appropriate to call for the dismissal of Prof. Chapman for his own opinions, when they have no evidence whatsoever that he acts on them at all, that he even believes them, that he’s done anything more than post speculations. For all they know, he could even be playing devil’s advocate. Whether or not their own opinions are correct (which they may very well be), their behavior is the very seed of censorship and the very antithesis of freedom of speech and free inquiry.”
Online students enjoy the benefit of gaining direct knowledge from and access to the work and thoughts of their professors.
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