A philosophy professor who defended pedophilia has been temporarily removed from campus to limit his interactions with students.
Professor Stephen Kershnar of State University of New York-Fredonia said in a video posted to Twitter that it wasn’t clear to him that adults having sex with children “is in fact wrong,” according to the Washington Examiner. Kershnar also reportedly said he didn’t think it was a “blanket wrong” have sex with a one-year-old.
SUNY-Fredonia President Stephen Kolison Jr. released a statement saying Kershnar had been assigned non-teaching duties while the matter is investigated. Kolison’s statement said, in full:
I am writing to provide you with an update on the matter involving one of our professors interviewed in a widely shared video podcast. We will continue to investigate this situation. In the meantime, effective immediately and until further notice, the professor is being assigned to duties that do not include his physical presence on campus and will not have contact with students while the investigation is ongoing.
Please allow me to reiterate my earlier statement that I view the content of the video as absolutely abhorrent. I cannot stress strongly enough that the independent viewpoints of this individual professor are in no way representative of the values of the SUNY Fredonia campus.
I appreciate your patience as we make every effort to resolve this matter as expeditiously as possible.
The Examiner reported that Kershnar “will remain off campus until the president’s office has finished investigating the matter.”
This is the second recent incident involving a college professor defending pedophilia. As The Daily Wire reported in November 2021, Old Dominion University professor Dr. Allyn Walker was placed on leave days after he gave an interview seeking to normalize the phrase “minor-attracted persons” as an alternative to pedophile
On November 8, Dr. Allyn Walker gave an interview to the Protasia Foundation in which the assistant professor – who identifies as non-binary – made the case for the term “minor-attracted persons.”
“It’s less stigmatizing than other terms like pedophile,” Walker said in the interview, according to Fox News. “A lot of people when they hear the term pedophile, they automatically assume that it means a sex offender. And that isn’t true. And it leads to a lot of misconceptions about attractions toward minors.”
The interview was about Walker’s book, “A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity,” which Walker insisted was not a defense of child sexual abuse.
Walker said in the interview that it is “never OK to abuse a child.” Walker also made the point in a statement released by ODU.
“I want to be clear: child sexual abuse is an inexcusable crime. As an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, the goal of my research is to prevent crime. My work is informed by my past experience and advocacy as a social worker counseling victims. I embarked on this research in hopes of gaining understanding of a group that, previously, has not been studied in order to identify ways to protect children,” Walker said.
The interview sparked outrage online and on campus, eventually resulting in ODU releasing a statement condemning Walker’s comments and research.
“Old Dominion University has placed Dr. Allyn Walker on administrative leave, effective immediately, from their position as assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice,” university spokesperson Amber Kennedy said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Reactions to Dr. Walker’s research and book have led to concerns for their safety and that of the campus,” Kennedy added. “Furthermore, the controversy over Dr. Walker’s research has disrupted the campus and community environment and is interfering with the institution’s mission of teaching and learning.”