Essentially, one would assume that in addition to educating its’ students, institutions would take immense take pride in protecting those who work for and attend their schools. However, it appears that Indiana University cannot sing this tune, as they are currently under fire for the stance they have taken following the surfacing of racist, sexist, and homophobic tweets written by one of their professors.
The Washington Post has reported that conservative professor, Eric Rasmusen, who is also tenured, placed himself in the line of fire after sharing unsettling views on his private Twitter page such as, “women do not belong in the workplace, particularly not in academia,” “gay men should not be permitted in academia,” and “black students are generally unqualified for attendance at elite institutions,” according to statement written by the university’s Provost Lauren Robel.
Despite these insanely divisive comments, the university has publicly revealed that they will not be firing Rasmusen. Conveniently, the school is citing the Constitution as the reason behind their decision. Robel noted in her statement that she condemns Rasmusen’s tweets. She also expressed that his views are “stunningly ignorant” and are in alignment with the thoughts of someone who “lived in the 18th century than the 21st.”
In part, Robel said, “Indiana University has a strong nondiscrimination policy, and as an institution adheres to values that are the opposite of Professor Rasmusen’s expressed values. We demand tolerance and respect in the workplace and in the classroom.”
In the same breath, opposed to the university taking action against the professor, students have been informed that they will not be forced to take any of Rasmusen’s courses. “The Kelley School will provide alternatives to Professor Rasmusen’s classes,” the statement also said.
Additionally, the professor will be using a double-blind grading system on assignments to ensure that his prejudices are not reflected in his grading. Is this a true remedy for blatant racism, sexism, and homophobia? Twitter has certainly sounded off in disagreement.
“I mean let’s call it what it is. This university system is telling its students that it is more comfortable having a racist and sexist professor than it is with supporting its student body. IU is literally supporting racism and sexism. Full stop,” said one Twitter user.
Another person tweeted, “Indiana University does not care about their black students. PERIOD.”
Rasmusen has weighed in on the Indiana University’s response to his discriminatory comments. “Indiana University is not discouraging bias, but encouraging it, even requiring it, as a condition of teaching,” he wrote. “There are views you’re not supposed to express, even outside of class, and God help the conservative student whose professor checks Facebook and Twitter before grading term papers. In the past I’ve had Christian and conservative students shyly approach me to say how happy they were to finally find a professor who was open in his beliefs. I hope to encourage them as much as I can.”
Ironically, or maybe not so much, Rasmusen received much warranted criticism in 2003 when he published a blog post on the University of Indiana’s server explaining why he felt gay people should not be educators, doctors, or elected officials. According to the Indiana Daily Student, he wrote at the time, “A second reason not to hire homosexuals as teachers is that it puts the fox into the chicken coop. Male homosexuals, at least, like boys and are generally promiscuous. They should not be given the opportunity to satisfy their desires.”
The professor told the publication that his views were comparable to those on a college campus. He later agreed to remove the post from the university’s site.