A University of Indiana professor who once said gay men shouldn’t be allowed to teach young people has angered the school community again with racist remarks. But university officials say Eric Rasmusen won’t lose his job over bigoted comments.
Indiana University Provost Lauren Robel acknowledged to WRTV in Indianapolis that Rasmusen made statements that were “racist, sexist, and homophobic” but said he could keep his job.
"His expressed views are stunningly ignorant, more consistent with someone who lived in the 18th century than the 21st," Robel said. But she said firing Rasmusen for controversial remarks would violate his constitutional rights.
Uproar arose after Rasmusen tweeted a line from an article in The UNZ Review titled “Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably.” The line Rasmusen quoted said, “Geniuses are overwhelmingly male because they combine outlier high IQ with moderately low Agreeableness and moderately low Conscientiousness.”
But it’s not Rasmusen’s first brush with controversy. In 2003, he made homophobic remarks on a university blog, which controversially were allowed to remain on the public servers.
"Male homosexuals, at least, like boys and are generally promiscuous," Rasmusen wrote at the time, according to a supportive site. The IU professor wrote that gay teachers would take advantage of younger studnets. "They should not be given the opportunity to satisfy their desires."
In another post, he wrote, “A large part of my belief relies on the idea that men are more tempted by children than women are. Women are attracted to older men, and are also less aggressive and more faithful to their spouses, if they have them."
Critics at the time questioned if he could have survived the controversy if he had made remarks about racial minorities, but he’s also suggested black students are unqualified to attend elite universities.
Now fresh outcry demands accountability.
“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,” said Drew Anderson, director of campaigns and rapid response for GLAAD.
“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.”
Rasmusen categorized his current situation as a "kerfuffle."
"I’m in a kerfuffle, and am learning a lot about info flow. Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track of Twitter itself," he said.
A Change.org petition for the removal of the professor started by alums of the university has now gone live.