As part of the campaign to have Amherst College disassociate itself from the anti-gay writings of Prof. Hadley Arkes, Warren Mersereau ’70 submitted this letter to the Amherst Student.
What do you make of Professor Hadley Arkes aligning members of the LGBT community with criminal predators: “The key abstraction, setting off ripples of self-deception, is that term ‘sexual orientation.’ The term is broad enough to encompass sex with animals, pedophilia, even necrophilia . . . The notion of ‘sexual orientation’ is quite unstable: Many people shift back and forth across a spectrum that may now include bisexual, fetishistic, transvestic, zoophiliac (sex with animals) . . . “ (Hadley Arkes, Ney Professor of Jurisprudence at Amherst College, www.thecatholicthing.org.).
Addressing alumni during homecoming weekend, President Martin countered: “Amherst’s values are at odds with the positions that Professor Arkes took in that article.”
And, Amherst College policy is clear: “Amherst College does not discriminate in its admission or employment policies and practices on the basis of factors such as race, genetics, gender identity or gender expression, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, religion, national origin, disability, or status as a veteran of the Vietnam War era or as a disabled veteran.” (Amherst College Faculty Handbook)
Which leads me to wonder:
Amherst College’s policies unequivocally support diversity: “Diversity, as defined in its broadest sense, is fundamental to Amherst’s mission.” (www.amherst.edu) Does Arkes fully support Amherst College’s policies?
One student leader has urged fellow students not to take Arkes’s courses: “Don’t go. No, seriously. By enrolling (in) an Arkes class you are giving him the equivalent of your vote of approval.” (www.acvoice.com) Arkes publicly argues against equal rights for members of the LGBT community. Does he discriminate against them in his classroom and his grading?
The 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure assigns responsibilities to professors: “As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.” Arkes’s assessments of members of the LGBT community are not at all times accurate, appropriately restrained, or respectful. Can’t Arkes at least have the decency to make every effort to indicate he is not speaking for our College by leaving “Amherst College” out of the byline of his anti LGBT commentaries?
Learn more. Get involved. www.terrasirradient.org. “Amherst Against Homophobia.”
Warren Mersereau ‘70
- Amherst College, it’s time to step up (terrasirradient.org)
- Petition to the Amherst College board of trustees (terrasirradient.org)
- Contents of appeal to Amherst College alumni (terrasirradient.org)
- Letter to alumni: Please sign and share (terrasirradient.org)
- Letter: How Arkes could destroy LGBT protections (terrasirradient.org)
- 101 more alumni push back against Arkes’s views (terrasirradient.org)