Students Object to Job Candidate for Offensive Views


Graduate students in a philosophy department somewhere in the English-speaking world did some online sleuthing about a job candidate for a position in their department, and learned that the candidate seems to hold views they find offensive. In particular, they found reports (including alleged quotes) that the candidate had expressed in online fora the view that homosexual acts and premarital sex are immoral. The candidate’s original postings on this matter were not found, and were presumed to have been deleted or made private.

At a meeting in advance of the candidate’s campus visit, the graduate students discussed the matter. Some students expressed the view that hiring the candidate would create a “hostile atmosphere” for gay and lesbian students. One proposal on the table was that the students boycott the candidate’s job talk. This proposal was rejected in favor of an alternative: writing the faculty to urge them to withdraw the candidate from consideration for the position. Some such notes have been sent, I am told; they include links to the relevant sites and say something along the following lines: “I am concerned about evidence showing that [the job candidate] has defended the view that homosexuality is immoral. If the candidate has in fact defended this view, I would not be comfortable having this person as a member of our community.” Not all of the graduate students support this initiative, I am told.

The above information comes to me via an anonymous source (who provided means by which to verify relevant details). The hiring process is still currently underway. I will not be naming the school nor the candidate. Please do not try to do so in the comments. Discussion of the issues here is welcome, particularly of whether the offensiveness of a job candidate’s views is an appropriate basis for rejecting the candidate. In the discussion, it may be useful to distinguish between the holding of these views, the arguments for these views, the expression of these views, and the behavior inspired by these views. If it helps, we can call the candidate with offensive views COV.

(Yes, I realize that offensiveness appears to be the topic of the month here at Daily Nous.)

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