Join Us: Oppose Amherst College's Tacit Support of Hate Speech

  • target: Amherst College Board of Trustees

Please enter your graduating class or Amherst affiliation in the 'optional' field to the right. If you are not affiliated with Amherst College, please say so in  the 'optional' field to the right.

[N.B. This petition is being offered by a group of concerned Amherst College Alumni.  Though public, this petition is directed expressly toward Amherst College students, alumni, faculty, administration and staff.  As of April 2014, this petition has been signed by more than 100 Amherst College alumni from 17 classes communicating by e-mail.  These signatures are available to view on http://terrasirradient.org ]

We request that the Trustees, acting for Amherst College, explicitly dissociate the institution itself from Professor Hadley Arkes's divisive and destructive views and his intellectual dishonesty. Further, we request that Professor Arkes be asked either to refrain from citing his association with Amherst College in his extracurricular writings or that any such association be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that his views do not represent Amherst College.

We make these requests of the Trustees, because in addition to violating Amherst College’s stated commitment to be an inclusive community, Professor Arkes’s public works expressly violate the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) Statement on Academic Freedom that Amherst College has endorsed and made into College Policy. Amherst College President Martin herself quotes the AAUP policy, stating that “…faculty, when they speak or write as citizens, ‘should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.”* [Emphasis added.]

We believe that the reputation of Amherst College, its academic integrity as an institution, and the value it assigns to human dignity are all at stake. This is not just a gay issue or a philosophical debate between liberals and conservatives. Amherst College cannot credibly maintain its professed commitment to be an inclusive community as long as it chooses to remain silent while a sitting professor disparages members of its community in media of worldwide circulation and accessibility.  While the steps taken to make the campus a welcoming place for GLTBQ students are laudable, our primary concern is about how Professor Arkes's statements continue to affect lives, including OFF campus. This is why we respectfully request the Trustees to explicitly dissociate Amherst College from Professor Arkes's bigoted statements about same-gender relationships that affect political and social life throughout the United States and other countries.

Everyone is well aware of repulsive falsehoods that have been propagated against Jewish people and African-American people and used to justify discrimination and worse against them.  We have no doubt that if an Amherst faculty member publicly articulated these falsehoods, the College quickly, publicly, and rightly would reject such views. Why should it be any different when a faculty member reiterates the falsehood that homosexuality is somehow analogous to illegal and abhorrent acts such as pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia? Professor Arkes elects to publish his views under the rubric of Amherst College, signing his commentaries as a chaired professor, without any disclaimer that his views do not reflect those of the College. By doing so, he explicitly engages the College on an ongoing basis.

Professor Arkes has the right to express and publish his opinions wherever he wishes, but NOT IN OUR NAME.

Please let the Amherst College Board of Trustees know how you feel by signing our petition today.  For more info, please visit our website.

Thank you.

*https://www.amherst.edu/aboutamherst/president/reflections

Please enter your graduating class or Amherst affiliation in the 'optional' field to the right. If you are not affiliated with Amherst College, please say so in  the 'optional' field to the right.


For the full text of the petition, please click on the "Overview" tab, above.


We request that the Trustees, acting for Amherst College, explicitly dissociate the institution itself from Professor Hadley Arkes's divisive and destructive views and his intellectual dishonesty. Further, we request that Professor Arkes be asked either to refrain from citing his association with Amherst College in his extracurricular writings or that any such association be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that his views do not represent Amherst College.


We make these requests of the Trustees, because in addition to violating Amherst College’s stated commitment to be an inclusive community, Professor Arkes’s public works expressly violate the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) Statement on Academic Freedom that Amherst College has endorsed and made into College Policy. Amherst College President Martin herself quotes the AAUP policy, stating that “…faculty, when they speak or write as citizens, ‘should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.”* [Emphasis added.]


Professor Arkes has the right to express and publish his opinions wherever he wishes, but NOT IN OUR NAME.

Please let the Amherst College Board of Trustees know how you feel by signing our petition today.  For more info, please visit our website.

Thank you. 


*https://www.amherst.edu/aboutamherst/president/reflections

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