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Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom Alliance Letter to SUNY Fredonia

The AFA calls on SUNY Fredonia to reaffirm the academic freedom of Professor Stephen Kershnar


The Academic Freedom Alliance released a public letter to SUNY Fredonia calling on the university to reaffirm the academic freedom of philosophy professor Stephen Kershnar.

Kershnar works on applied ethics and writes on a wide range of controversial topics, including "adult-child sex." His research includes a scholarly monograph dedicated to that subject published by an academic press. He recently discussed his work on a YouTube channel dedicated to philosophy topics, and that is when the trouble began. His comments on adult-child sex were picked up by what is becoming a common set of right-leaning media and campus watchdog groups, including Campus Reform, the Libs of Tiktok Twitter account, the Post Millennial, and the New York Post.

SUNY Fredonia issued a denunciation via tweet which concluded that "the matter is being reviewed."

From the AFA letter:

I write on behalf of the Academic Freedom Alliance to emphasize that Professor Kershnar's scholarly research and teaching on these topics is fully protected by principles of academic freedom and his public discussion of his ideas on these issues is protected by principles of freedom of speech. There is, quite simply, nothing for the university to review under these circumstances. The university's obligation in the face of this controversy is to provide a forum in which ideas, however extreme or misguided they may be or seem to be, can be articulated, criticized, and fairly debated. A member of your faculty under such public scrutiny is likely to be targeted for abuse and threats, and the university's responsibility is to shelter the faculty member from that harassment and not add to it.

Read the whole thing here.