Professor’s views on pedophilia bring outrage

Dr. Stephen Kershnar

An outspoken and controversial philosophy professor has created a firestorm after voicing his views on video clips regarding pedophilia and sex between an adult and child.

Comments from Dr. Stephen Kershnar, who teaches at the State University of New York at Fredonia, hit Twitter on Tuesday and have brought a backlash against the professor and the university. One of the appearances by Kershnar is on the podcast “Unregistered with Thaddeus Russell,” the other is on a video on the Twitter feed of Libs of Tik Tok.

“It’s not obvious to me that is in fact wrong,” Kershnar says in the video. “I think this is a mistake. And I think that exploring why it’s a mistake will tell us not only things about adult-child sex and statutory rape, but also about fundamental principles of morality.”

For its part, university President Stephen H. Kolison posted a response to the videos on Twitter later Tuesday. “SUNY Fredonia is aware of the video posted online involving one of its professors. The views expressed by the professor are reprehensible and do not represent the values of SUNY Fredonia in any way, shape or form. They are solely the professor’s views. The matter is being reviewed.”

Kershnar, a past contributor to the OBSERVER opinion pages, has had his share of disputes during his career at the university. In 2006, he was involved in a disagreement with then-President Dennis L. Hefner over a student conduct policy. Kershnar claimed it cost him a promotion in reports on thefire.org, which is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Its mission statement, according to its website, is to defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities.


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