An Indiana University professor is defending himself after officials announced he will not be fired from his job despite posting disparaging comments about women, people of color, and gay men on social media.
Eric Rasmusen is a professor at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He recently came under public scrutiny after the popular Twitter account @SheRatesDogs, which has almost half a million followers, posted a tweet by him.
Following that up, the account shared another tweet by him that disparaged women.
After the tweets went viral, school officials responded by condemning Rasmusen's comments. Lauren Robel, the university's executive vice president and provost, called his social media posts “racist, sexist and homophobic” in a statement.
In the statement, which was also sent to students, Robel described Rasmusen's posts as “slurs against women." She said Rasmusen has also written that gay men “are promiscuous and unable to avoid abusing students” and that black students are “generally inferior academically to white students." In a separate statement, the dean of the business school, Idie Kesner, called Rasmusen's views "abhorrent."
Despite this, Rasmusen will be keeping his job.
“We cannot, nor would we, fire Professor Rasmusen for his posts as a private citizen, as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids us to do so,” Robel said.
She added that if Rasmusen had expressed his bias in class, it would be illegal and they would investigate it. Robel said that no student would be forced to take his class and they would enforce a double-blind grading system.
Rasmusen has doubled down in a response on his website, claiming he has been attacked by the "woke crowd" and that school officials "overreacted."
He went on to say he doesn’t think the word “slut” is a slur against women, that he’s not opposed to women in academia because both his wife and daughter are in the field, and that “academia is a vocation more compatible with motherhood than most jobs.” He also said that he believes gay men should not teach “high school or grade school” and that “sodomy is a sin."
Rasmusen also published letters on his website that are supposedly from supporters. “Do not let the thought police shut you down. The left-wing media always tries to skew the truth. Keep fighting the fight for critical thinking!” one said.
"Most of the email I get is positive and encouraging, often from people who disagree with my opinions completely but respect my right to hold them." Rasmusen told BuzzFeed News. He also specifically noted to us that his number of twitter followers have almost tripled as a direct result of the "kerfuffle".
A university spokesperson told BuzzFeed News they have no further comment to Rasmusen's rebuttal.
Lauren Robel is executive vice president and provost of the university. An earlier version of this article misstated her title.