Professor's site taken off IU server

Students, staff upset by message about homosexuals



A Web log created by a business professor to express views on homosexuality and other issues has been removed from an IU server, after causing controversy and angering some on campus.

Professor Eric Rasmusen, who teaches multiple courses in the Kelley School of Business, was asked to take his opinions off a University Web page by Kelley School of Business Dean Dan Dalton, Thursday.

In his Web log, which was accessible to students and staff, he expressed his views about why homosexuals should not be teachers, elected officials and doctors. The log also discussed issues relating to the death penalty, war in Iraq, religion and affirmative action, among others.

In his log posted on the IU server, Rasmusen stated: "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. Somewhat related is a reason not to hire a homosexual as a doctor even though you would hire him as a lawyer: you don't mind if your lawyer has a venereal disease such as HIV or hepatitis, but you do mind if your doctor is in a class of people among whom such diseases are common."

The material in question posted on the IU server angered students, faculty and staff both in the business school and around the University.

Doug Bauder, coordinator of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender services, said a staff member called the GLBT office and brought the site to his attention.

"It's not an easy Web page to look at," Bauder said. "From what I read, it is very offensive. I'm glad people in the business school are responding to this."

But Rasmusen said his position is not that unusual, especially outside a college environment.

"I did not know it was so controversial to provide arguments for why homosexuals should not be employed as school teachers, but it seems that people at universities get excited about opinions that are common, perhaps even the norm, elsewhere in the United States," Rasmusen said in an e-mail sent to the IDS.

After Rasmusen spoke with Dalton Thursday afternoon, the professor agreed to remove the materials immediately from the IU Web site, Dalton said.

"Most important, the content of the Web log does not reflect the attitude of the Kelley School of Business," Dalton said. "Any individual has the right have his or her opinion on a personal Web site, but I am not certain about that right extending to an IU site."

Dalton said the school does not wish to deprive anyone of his or her rights, but instead wishes to look into the rules regarding what can be posted on IU's state-funded server.

"I regret that it appeared on an IU Web site," Dalton said. "With the advice of others at IU, we will fully investigate and determine an individuals' rights and responsibilities associated with IU Web sites and we will proceed from there."

Rasmusen said he hopes the situation won't impede faculty, staff and students with certain views from expressing their opinions on campus.

"It will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of the amount of political discussion allowed at IU," Rasmusen said in the e-mail. "I hope the desire of some people to shut down discussion they dislike will not translate into loss of political diversity here on campus, or discourage conservative students and faculty from voicing their views."

Joe Boes, an academic adviser in the business school, said he found the material offensive because of the threats it poses to the GLBT community.

"I am hoping this is an isolated incident because I have always felt supported by the Kelley School of Business and [Dean Dalton] in regards to my own sexual orientation," Boes said. "I respect other people's opinions, but when they are expressed on IU's server, I do not think it is appropriate."

Boes said although he supports free speech, the nature of the log intimidates students who are already apprehensive about coming out.

"When [students] are exposed to this type of opinion it pushes them further into the closet," Boes said. "This is an unfortunate incident, but Dean [Dalton] is handling the situation appropriately."

-- Contact staff writer Maura Halpern at mhalpern@indiana.edu.

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