When the anti-gay group Stand for Marriage Maine released its first television ad, they turned Boston College Law School professor Scott T. Fitzgibbon into a star. Except plenty of his colleagues at BC Law vehemently disagreed with his stance — not only the anti-gay one, but also his misinformation and half-truths. (Which it admitted to.) And so 76 of Fitzgibbon’s colleagues, including the school’s Dean John Garvey, just moved to distance themselves from their discrimination-loving peer.
“The undersigned members of the faculty and administration at Boston College Law School feel that it is important to reaffirm our belief in the equality of all of our students,” they all co-signed in a statement. “We are proud of the fact that Boston College Law School was one of the first law schools in the country to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination pledge, and we reaffirm our commitment to making our institution a welcome and safe place for all students, including LGBT students.”
That’s sort of interesting, because three days earlier, Dean Garvey had circulated this message around BC Law faculty (read the full letter here), which attempted to explain how they can keep someone like Fitzgibbon on their faculty:
Professor Fitzgibbon, as a member of our faculty, is free to express his views. His public statements represent his own opinions, as the advertisement makes clear, and do not state any official position of Boston College Law School. We also have faculty members who hold a contrary view, which they too are free to express publicly. Many have done so while referring to themselves as BC Law professors. One of them has publicly led the fight to oppose the Solomon Amendment on the grounds that it is an affront to gay and lesbian students and prospective members of the U.S. military. Others have taken controversial positions on such subjects as abortion, euthanasia, and the treatment of detainees.
I believe that free expression is central to our mission as a law school committed to public
discourse and the free exchange of ideas and opinions. We have faculty and students from many different backgrounds, and with many different points of view. It is our expectation that they will continue to engage in public discourse, and argue their positions with passion and civility, with the intellectual freedom that an academic institution affords to us all.
Fine. But at least move him to a windowless office.