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Prof With 'Stunningly Ignorant' Views Gets to Keep Job

First Amendment protects Eric Rasmusen, says Indiana University
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2019 7:18 AM CST
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(Newser) – The dean of the business school Eric Rasmusen teaches at calls his views "reprehensible"; Indiana University Provost Lauren Robel says they're "stunningly ignorant." But despite posts on his private social media accounts Robel deems "racist, sexist, and homophobic," Rasmusen won't lose his job at the college, she says, because of the "strong medicine" of the First Amendment. CNN reports the kerfuffle started when Rasmussen tweeted an article from the Unz Review—a webzine the Anti-Defamation League has deemed anti-Semitic—titled "Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably." That tweet got pushback after going viral, and other posts the instructor of business economics and public policy has made received renewed attention, including ones in which he said black students are inferior to white ones and called a woman a "slut."

The Indiana Star reports on others, including a 2003 blog post in which Rasmusen said gay men shouldn't teach because they're "promiscuous" and more likely to molest students. Still, "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 ... forbids us to do so," Robel says in a statement, adding that if Rasmusen ever acted upon his views, he'd be violating the school's nondiscrimination policy. To protect students, the university won't force students to take any of his classes, and he has to use a double-blind grading system to ensure he doesn't discriminate. In a long blog post, Rasmusen calls himself a "proud conservative." He also tells CNN all professors should have to do blind grading, not just him, to prevent bias. (Read more Indiana University stories.)

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