Indiana professor's antigay blog condemned
September 18 2003 12:00 AM ET
Indiana University, Bloomington's chancellor said she wants officials to reexamine the school's rules for personal Web sites following a flap over antigay comments posted by a professor. The remarks on economics professor Eric Rasmusen's Web log were "offensive, hurtful, and very harmful stereotyping," Chancellor Sharon Brehm told the faculty council. But Rasmusen's right to express them was protected by the U.S. Constitution and I.U. policy on academic freedom, she said. Rasmusen, who is a member of the faculty council, made no response during the meeting Tuesday but commented later to a reporter, "It's hard to say anything interesting on the subject and make everybody happy, but that's no reason not to discuss it."
Rasmusen said in his Web log that gays should not be teachers, pastors, or elected officials. He maintained that gay men tend to be attracted to boys, are "generally promiscuous," and are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children. Brehm said such stereotyping is "completely at odds with Indiana University's commitment to inclusion and its respect for diversity." Rasmusen later said he believes Brehm's position is outside mainstream opinion. "It is fine if that's her position, but she should realize it is a controversial one," he said. Brehm said she will ask the faculty council, which sets academic policy for all eight I.U. campuses, to reexamine procedures for personal Web sites maintained by faculty, staff, and students. A day after the business school dean asked Rasmusen to remove his Web log, a university attorney determined that the log did not violate any school policies. I.U. allows students and employees to create personal Web pages that are available through its Web site, but the university does not accept responsibility for their content.
Doug Bauder, coordinator of I.U.'s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender support services office, said he was pleased with Brehm's statement. He said 45 students, staff, and faculty met last week to brainstorm how to address the controversy. Bauder said suggestions ranged from public protests to offering pro-diversity speakers for business classes.
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