Indiana University is using the First Amendment as an excuse to not fire a professor with discriminatory views.
The decision to not fire Professor Eric Rasmusen, who teaches business and public policy, has caused immense backlash.
It all started with a Tweet.
“geniuses are overwhelmingly male because they combine outlier high IQ with moderately low Agreeableness and modera… https://t.co/D9rdEUeURl— Eric Rasmusen (@Eric Rasmusen) 1573171020.0
Rasmusen shared and quoted an article titled, "Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably", which explains why "female dominance of universities is destroying the 'genius' type that is critical to the generation of original ideas."
Oh, okay then.
Though it wasn't the first time that Rasmusen had publicly shared his problematic opinions on women, LGBTQ people, or people of color, this Tweet drew a ton of backlash online.
People were appalled that a professor would make such statements.
@erasmuse In what reality would it be appropriate for a professor to retweet such a sexist and misinformed article?… https://t.co/7ge9Lo2yPz— E (@E) 1574191288.0
@erasmuse This... article?... is laughably unprofessional and riddled with errors, my highschool students regularly… https://t.co/tk5g9oz2uO— Pigeon in your attic (@Pigeon in your attic) 1574204343.0
@erasmuse Oh honey. No. I highly suggest you leave academia because your treatment of minorities in academia is app… https://t.co/y2Vnq4I6UU— Theresa ♿🏴🇺🇲🎭✍️ (@Theresa ♿🏴🇺🇲🎭✍️) 1574256398.0
They began questioning why he was teaching at Indiana University and called for his dismissal.
@erasmuse @IUBloomington @IndianaUniv @iupress a man who thinks men are geniuses because they are men clearly isn't… https://t.co/EVEAq7Ek1M— Sarah (@Sarah) 1574193406.0
@erasmuse I hope you lose your job @IUBloomington— ODAAT got saved (@ODAAT got saved) 1574191861.0
@erasmuse @IUBloomington Do you think this man is qualified to teach the next generation of academics?— lucyyy ( ꈍᴗꈍ) (@lucyyy ( ꈍᴗꈍ)) 1574193485.0
@erasmuse You’re a shame to the IU name and legacy. You deserve to be driven out of academia.— Anna Dutcher (@Anna Dutcher) 1574193599.0
@erasmuse College professors do not have to be liberal. They don’t have to be democrat. They can belong to the NRA… https://t.co/IDOKnSYd9g— MostlyMe (@MostlyMe) 1574206985.0
The intense backlash caused the school to finally address the controversy.
Provost Lauren Robel confirmed that she and the school agreed that Rasmusen's comments were unacceptable.
However, the school ultimately would not fire him, as he was exercising his first Amendment Right of free speech.
The provost posted a written statement on the school's website.
Robel begins by acknowledging the professors hateful posts.
"Professor Eric Rasmusen has, for many years, used his private social media accounts to disseminate his racist, sexist, and homophobic views. When I label his views in this way, let me note that the labels are not a close call, nor do his posts require careful parsing to reach these conclusions. He has posted, among many other things, the following pernicious and false stereotypes:"
She then goes on to list the bigoted beliefs he has expressed, which include misogyny:
"That he believes that women do not belong in the workplace, particularly not in academia, and that he believes most women would prefer to have a boss than be one; he has used slurs in his posts about women;
"That gay men should not be permitted in academia either, because he believes they are promiscuous and unable to avoid abusing students;"
"That he believes that black students are generally unqualified for attendance at elite institutions, and are generally inferior academically to white students."
But then came the explanation of why he won't be fired.
"Indiana University have been inundated in the last few days with demands that he be fired. We cannot, nor would we, fire Professor Rasmusen for his posts as a private citizen, as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids us to do so. That is not a close call."
The provost offered an alternative solution to IU students who don't want to associate with Rasmusen.
Robel promised students who felt uncomfortable with Rasmusen's bigotry that they would not be forced to take one of his classes. If a class of his happens to be a degree requirement, other options will be put in place.
The professor will also be required to use a "double-blind grading" system, which will basically have the students' work be handed in to him as anonymous.
People are not impressed with the response.
@IUBloomington @IUBProvost For a school with a “strong non discriminatory” policy, do better🤦🏻♀️— ✰ Miranda Loveall ✰ (@✰ Miranda Loveall ✰) 1574286601.0
@IUBloomington @IUBProvost Soo basically he still employed at IU 🤒 , not firing him shows that Indiana University s… https://t.co/ibEuHKEZpg— Ce’✨ (@Ce’✨) 1574315675.0
@IUBloomington @IUBProvost please stop asking me for money thank you— Jon Savitt (@Jon Savitt) 1574284714.0
@IUBloomington @IUBProvost As an alumni I’m appalled that the university is not firing him...to leave that man in h… https://t.co/38SKiBvEt8— Sarah Gardner (@Sarah Gardner) 1574288718.0
@IUBloomington @IUBProvost What is being done with his position on the student conduct board??? Additionally, do hi… https://t.co/abc9lAeuF4— Katie Timperman (@Katie Timperman) 1574301386.0
For his part, Rasmusen admitted to making these statements, but also defended himself on his website. where he claims to only be telling "the truth" and that "many students" expressed gratitude for his campus presence.
Many people are saying? Now who does that sound like?