UNLV economics professor embroiled in controversy over comments relating to gays
February 23 2005 12:00 AM ET
Administrators are dropping sanctions against a prominent University of Nevada, Las Vegas, economics professor who was criticized for saying during a lecture that gays save less money for the future than heterosexuals. But the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, representing tenured economist Hans Hoppe, called for the university to put principles of academic freedom in writing.
ACLU executive director Gary Peck and lawyer Allen Lichtenstein said Hoppe was not clearly exonerated in a letter from university president Carol Harter and in comments from interim university chancellor Jim Rogers affirming Hoppe's free speech rights. "While the university may see the matter as closed, we do not, and Hans does not," Peck said. "What Hans said in class, whether you agree with it or not, was
obviously covered by academic freedom and the First Amendment. He should never have been forced to face a series of inquisitors and defend his reputation."
The university agreed to drop a discrimination complaint against Hoppe, 55, a libertarian with almost 20 years at UNLV. Hoppe had said he wanted an apology after being accused in a letter from a university provost of violating "standards of scholarship and instruction responsibility."
Harter's letter does not offer an apology, but it does rescind what officials had called the provost's "nondisciplinary letter of instruction" in Hoppe's personnel file. Hoppe was accused of bias for saying in a lecture last March that gays tend to save less than singles, the young, and the old. He has insisted that his theory has backing from economists worldwide and that his generalization was not meant to offend anyone. A gay student raised no objection during class but later lodged a complaint, saying Hoppe's lecture should have been more politically correct. (AP)