University of Illinois Professor May Be Reinstated

This is a follow-up post to one made earlier this week called, Professor Fired for Teaching Catholic Views in a Catholicism Class. An University of Illinois professor was let go from his post for teaching the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality, which is ridiculous when you think about what class it was in. The ADF sent a letter to the university this week, and if they do not respond they could really be opening themselves up to a big court case with unnecessary, negative publicity. Hopefully they come to their senses and admit their mistake. Apparently this professor has been very well liked all over campus and I’m sure most students and faculty would like to see him reinstated. The excerpts below are from Catholic News Agency.

“In a letter sent Monday to the University of Illinois, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) called for the immediate reinstatement of Dr. Kenneth Howell, a professor who was fired for explaining in a class on Catholicism that the Church teaches homosexual behavior violates natural law. If the university does not reply to the letter by July 16, the legal fund said it will advise the professor to file a lawsuit.

In his letter, Barham noted that Dr. Howell has taught in the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois since 2001, and that he has consistently earned excellent marks on his student evaluations.

Throughout the semester, Barham underscored, Dr. Howell emphasized to his class that they did not need to agree with Catholic thought, but simply needed to understand and analyze it to succeed in the class.

In a legal analysis of the situation, Barham explained that “public university professors retain free speech and academic freedom rights in the classroom and on campus.”

Looking at legal precedent, Barham noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Illinois, has stated that “the First Amendment protects the right of faculty members to engage in academic debates, pursuits, and inquiries.” Federal courts across the country have agreed with this statement, he said.

“These clearly established First Amendment principles easily encompass Dr. Howell’s lectures and e-mail,” Barham stated. “In a class on Catholic thought, he explained Catholic teaching on sexual morality and answered students’ questions and responded to their objections.”

“According to decades of Supreme Court precedent, the University simply cannot relieve Dr. Howell of his teaching post based on how third parties respond to his speech,” Barham said. “For decades, the Supreme Court has consistently held that university campuses are ‘not enclaves immune from the sweep of the First Amendment.’”

To read the entire article, click here.

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  1. […] is a follow up posting to one I had previously made earlier this month titled, University of Illinois Professor May Be Reinstated. I found the update on this story on Catholic News Agency, and I have to say I am pleasantly […]