If you are an Amherst College student, alumnus or alumna, please sign this petition:
“We request that the Trustees, acting for Amherst College, explicitly dissociate the institution itself from Professor Hadley Arkes’s divisive and destructive views and his intellectual dishonesty. Further, we request that Professor Arkes be asked either to refrain from citing his association with Amherst College in his extracurricular writings or that any such association be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that his views do not represent Amherst College.”
If you want to add your name to this petition, do so at “Join Us: Oppose Amherst College’s Tacit Support of Hate Speech.”
[As of February 2014, the petition had been signed by more than 100 Amherst College alumni from 17 classes communicating by e-mail. As of Feb. 20, 2014, the petition is now online at The Petition Site.]
Context of the petition
Arkes compares homosexuality to sex with animals, pedophilia, and necrophilia. He has also stated that the number of pregnancies from rape is “minuscule,” because the female body may act to prevent conception in such situations. As a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, National Review and other publications, Arkes influences decision-makers such as Justice Antonin Scalia, who has echoed has ideas. In the process, he typically describes himself (accurately) as the Edward N. Ney Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions at Amherst College, but does not say that his ideas differ from the official position of the college.
When a Johns Hopkins Medical School faculty member recently made statements similar to those of Arkes, the dean there reiterated the right of free expression but also called his words “hurtful, offensive language” that was ““inconsistent with the culture of our institution.”
A group of alumni has asked President Biddy Martin to do the same, but she has refused, writing in her blog that doing so would clash with her commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression.
Students and alumni from many classes are being urged to sign a petition to the trustees in hopes that so many people will do so that the college will take the issue of homophobia more seriously, as it eventually did after initially refusing to speak against the Vietnam War and apartheid.