To the students, faculty, and staff of the Kelley School,
As many of you may be aware Professor Eric Rasmusen, a member of the Kelley School faculty, tweeted a link and quoted from an article entitled, “Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably,” written by Lance Welton. This article suggests women academics and most women students are harmful to the academy. Unfortunately, the views espoused in this article and endorsed by this professor on the matter of gender diversity reflect similar views expressed in his private Twitter account. Moreover, he holds similarly reprehensible views regarding other areas of diversity. The professor demonstrates a lack of tolerance and respect for women as well as for racial diversity and diversity in sexual orientation. The leadership of the Kelley School stands united in condemning the bias and disrespect displayed by this professor; we find his sexist, racist, and homophobic views abhorrent.
The Kelley School believes strongly in the importance and value of diversity and inclusion. There are hundreds of research articles clearly stating the value of diversity for all learning environments including higher education. Both for this reason and because valuing and fostering diversity is the right thing to do, our School has worked to create a welcoming environment for all professors and staff to pursue our teaching, research, and service missions in an open, receptive, and respectful environment. Similarly, we have worked diligently to create an open, respectful, and inclusive environment in which our students learn. Naturally, it is hurtful when we see views expressed that are the antithesis of this. As a female academic, dean of the school, and a Kelley alumnus who cares deeply about our School, I find the remarks and the beliefs presented in the papers cited and tweets by this professor reprehensible.
While many have called for the professor’s dismissal, there are legal reasons why the University cannot dismiss him over his postings. Like all of us, Professor Rasmusen has First Amendment rights. While his stated opinions are at odds with our individual values and beliefs and those of our institution, we cannot prohibit his freedom of expression in his private social media accounts. This does not mean that we are powerless to take actions that prevent bias against students, other faculty members, or staff. Indiana University and the Kelley School are committed to our ethical responsibility to provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. In addition, we must ensure a non-threatening, fair learning environment. Therefore, we will take all necessary steps to ensure that students will not be harmed by the biases that could underlie the judgment of this professor. This includes allowing students who are enrolled in his courses to substitute other courses or transfer to other sections taught by different professors. We will also implement other procedural mechanisms to ensure the biases expressed do not impact the professor’s grading or how he conducts his classroom sessions. And, we will conduct a thorough review of the courses taught by this professor for the influence of bias.
I ask that you not judge our School by a single faculty member. For 100 years, we have been a learning environment that cares deeply about our research, teaching and service missions. For 100 years, we have been a learning environment that cares deeply about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. And, we are a learning environment that will strive every day to be more inclusive and supportive of diversity than the day before.
Each of us brings a valuable aspect of diversity that gives our institution strength. I hope we can remember this even when we are challenged by others whose minds are closed to this viewpoint.
Dean of Kelley School
You might also point out that that particular article by “Lance Welton” was written for VDARE, a white supremacist web site.
Impressive response! Reasonable and responsive to legitimate student concerns while honoring the academic freedom of the faculty member. Congratulations to the Dean!his
His first amendment rights have consequences and he should be fired! I can only imagine have to be a woman, person of color or an lgbtq+ student being in his class. IU is better than this!
I am extremely disappointed to know that IU would continue to work with a faculty member with such views. Although this is his first amendment right, he should not have further contact with students. Learning should be an inclusive environment, and with a faculty member such as Rasmusen, this cannot happen.
And how do you propose to protect women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community from his abhorrent behavior in the future? Will you mention in his class listing that he is everything IU is supposed to be against so students can avoid enrolling in his classes? If
hypothetically, that were the case, how are you supposed to keep his classes now full of only young white men who share his views from festering into a hate group here on campus? No one has time to moniter his classes and no one behind those closed doors would report him. If this issue is not dealt with now, it will only become a much larger problem for Kelley in the future. Shame on you.
If you have one bad potato in the bag, you throw it out. Otherwise ALL the potatoes ROT! So yes, we will judge you based on your institution protecting this one faculty member over your students! We literally fought in a world wide war against fascism and Nazis, and here you are not only protecting one but you’re also giving him ample opportunity to spread his hate. Your protecting him, and using the constitution is bullshit. Had the people in charge of IU been around during the days of Hitler, we now know they would have chosen to protect Hitler. You are choosing the wrong side of history on this one, IU, and it will be forever remembered!
The Constitution protects his speech from government control. It does not protect him from consequences. Employers can impose discipline on employees for what they say/post outside of work as well as in the workplace. (I work for federal govt. and employees have been disciplined for discriminatory Facebook posts.)
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
No where does this say ANYTHING that would protect him from being fired…
Absolutely disgusting. His first amendment right only protects him from government intervention. He is a professor that spends his free time spouting nonsense about Black students being inferior. I wonder if that has had any effect on his grading policies in the past? As an African American student, i’m deeply ashamed of alma mater
$230,000 salary to teach one class and someone else has to grade or help grade assignments. That’s a great lesson in economics and business.
I thank KSoB and IUB leadership for their firm responses on this matter. I would like to share some insights and resources on this topic from an educational research perspective, which I added to our CITL blog today. https://blogs.iu.edu/citl/2019/11/22/impact-of-bias-on-performance/
Paul E Crownover
I cannot believe that state you are unable to dismiss Eric Rasmusen. If your university has a published policy against discrimination regarding any of the protected groups he has made derogatory, inflammatory, discriminatory comments, or statements that qualify as hate speech, then his 1st Amendments rights do not apply as he is a representative of the university and thus has violated university policy, procedure, guidelines, and/or standards. Even if these comments were made on his private social medial account(s).
Additionally, the “double-blind procedure while grading” will not be effective unless ALL student work is done on a computer and not hand written. He can easily become familiar with individual students’ handwriting, and there are some handwriting characteristics that have been proven to be present in particular groups of people.
It saddens me to see a university protect someone who clearly displays their individual bigotry, is likely not the least bit to encourage that bigotry in their students (many students follow their professors’ social media accounts), and are left to the whims of a professor’s bias/discrimination.
Students pay to attend your university. And while you have stated that no student will be required to take his classes, what about those who believe they will receive fair treatment and take his class(es), or have to take his class(es) because others are full? No student should pay to be discriminated against.
You have failed your student in the past, and are continuing to fail you student now by allowing this person to continue to practice discriminatory acts against students of your university. You have a duty of care to those students, and not to those who teach there.
I am not one to promote lawsuits, but in this case, Indiana University has earned any lawsuits that come your way.
The US has dropped dramatically in the quality of higher education in relation to many other countries, and situations like this which the Indiana University has allowed is a part of the problem.
So, if Professor Rasmusen teaches one class per semester, and only 5 white, christian, heterosexual males subscribe to it, because he has alienated everyone else, the University remains obligated to pay him 6 figures under his contract? I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the assertion that the University is doing all it can to protect students from his bigotry, which evidently includes subscriptions to authors who publish their works on white supremacist web sites. As it happens, I have a B.S. in Business Economics and Public Policy from the Kelley School of Business, and I am seriously considering leaving it off my c.v. I can’t believe I paid four years’ worth of tuition to an institution that continues to employ someone who actually doesn’t think I belonged there, or even in the workplace generally. I think you’re irreparably harming the University, Kelley, the Business Economics Department, current students, and alumni/ae by giving this bigot a platform to spew his hatred.
The Professor’s views are at odds with what many think, but he is allowed to have them, and also to express them. This is (a very big) part of what makes our nation great, and ultimately the Dean has taken the only effective counter action here. That is, she is calling these views out, condemning them and making clear they do not represent the institution. Those of you who are calling for him to be fired or otherwise silenced and punished have failed to appreciate the nature of our cultural legacy in debate and free thinking.
I applaud my school, the Dean in particular, and am glad Professor Rasmusen has inadvertently, or perhaps intentionally for all I know, opened this debate. It’s about time we all had a frank talk about who is displaying intolerance. This is not a quality only being displayed by the Professor here… look in the mirror.
very good and very useful article.
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