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University won't punish prof for remarks on gays

By The Associated Press
02.22.05

LAS VEGAS — Administrators are dropping sanctions against a prominent University of Nevada, Las Vegas, economics professor who was criticized for saying during a lecture that gays saved less money for the future than heterosexuals.

But the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, representing tenured economist Hans Hoppe, called for the university to put principles of academic freedom in writing.

ACLU executive director Gary Peck and lawyer Allen Lichtenstein said Hoppe was not clearly exonerated in a letter from university President Carol Harter and in comments from Interim University Chancellor Jim Rogers affirming Hoppe's freedom of speech.

"While the university may see the matter closed, we do not and Hans does not," Peck said. "What Hans said in class, whether you agree with it or not, was obviously covered by academic freedom and the First Amendment. He should never have been forced to face a series of inquisitors and defend his reputation."

The university agreed to drop a discrimination complaint against Hoppe, 55, a conservative libertarian with almost 20 years at UNLV.

Hoppe had said he wanted an apology after being accused in a letter from a university provost of violating "standards of scholarship and instruction responsibility."

Harter's letter does not apologize, but rescinds what officials had called the provost's "nondisciplinary letter of instruction" in Hoppe's personnel file.

Hoppe was accused of bias for saying in a lecture last March that gays tended to save less than heterosexual singles, the young and the old. He has insisted his theory has backing from economists worldwide and his generalization was not meant to offend anyone.

A gay student raised no objection during class, but later lodged a complaint saying Hoppe's lecture should have been more politically correct.


Related

Wisconsin chancellor OKs speech by controversial professor

Decision sparks outrage among some state lawmakers, who say they will ask University of Wisconsin System president to block talk by Ward Churchill. 02.12.05

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