The Sad Case of Eric Thompson

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Eric Thompson is a sociology professor at Moreno Valley College in Riverside, California.  In 2017 at the beginning of the fall semester, he was fired from his job.  He had been teaching sociology since 2006 at the college.  The college justified the termination based on three incidents.  In 2014, he led a classroom discussion on the nature-nature aspect of same-sex attraction.  Then in 2015, he led another classroom discussion in the Obergfell decision legalizing gay marriage.  The third incident involved a complaint by a student who claimed she received a D in his class because she was a lesbian.  Trying to resolve the issue over her grade and her lesbianism, that was the final straw- he had violated the college’s “No Contact” policy.

Initially, the case went to an arbitrator who ordered the college to reinstate the professor.  They appealed to a Riverside County superior court judge who agreed with the arbitrator.  Not content with the decision of the superior court, the college has now appealed to a California appellate court to let the termination stand.  Thompson, the father of eight, is still unemployed as that court decides his fate.  The college has released a statement that to date the arbitrator and superior court failed to consider Thompson’s “attack” on the LGBT community is tantamount to a crime of heinous proportions.  They claim that Thompson has “targeted” the LGBT community and women’s studies.

Regarding the 2014 incident, Thompson showed a video called “Understanding Same-Sex Attraction.”  In that film, 4-5 people talk about therapy and realizing that they were, in fact, attracted to the opposite sex.  According to the record, Thompson questioned whether homosexuality was caused by nature or nurture.  In effect, he presented both sides of the issue equally.  Obviously, this is what a college professor is supposed to do: present both sides in a comprehensive and impartial manner and let students decide for themselves.  Regardless, every study indicates there is no gay gene.  The nature of sexual orientation is an open question, one open to debate, and one you expect in an academic setting.

But how many people are capable of such discussion and debate?  Such questions are just too harsh for some students fed the pablum of equality.  A concern should not be foreclosed to discussion or debate because it may be contrary to what one believes.  People tend to be detached from cold, hard, and rational inquiry.

As for the Obergfell classroom discussion, Thompson described it as a “great” one with great points made on both sides of the issue.  However, one student got up and walked out.  Running from an academic discussion of any issue is indicative of the fact that a person does not deserve to be in college in the first place.

With regards to the lesbian receiving the D, Thompson testified he was unaware of her sexual orientation.  In that contact, he did tell her that her complaint was not necessary nor reasonable and offered to resolve the problem.  The administration of the college claimed he was attempting to influence the student into dropping the complaint.  Said the college: “Ordering the district to retain Professor Thompson as a faculty member places female and LGBT students and employees at further risk…of fear, humiliation, anger or anxiety.”

To put it another way, the new goal of higher education is to teach alleged adults to act like spoiled brats.  Being asked to questions your assumptions is now tantamount to being “put at risk.”  Higher education is now a flight from life’s realities.

As an aside, the role of women in college administrations cannot be overlooked.  Extensive research shows that women are more empathetic and feeling.  Look at the list of complaints where some student in college fails to separate personal issues from an academic performance like the lesbian who received a D.  Usually, it is a female administrator in the corner of the person complaining.  That is because women are more sympathetic to the feelings of others.  Of course, there are exceptions to any rule or average, but one cannot overlook the sexual differences when it comes to empathy and sensitivity.

Social order is, above all else, a male domain whether in government, religion, philosophy, or the law.  They are needed as authority figures whether one likes it or not.  But in a hostile culture, it remains to be seen whether there are enough of them left who are up to the task.

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