The University of Louisville has withdrawn, at least temporarily, the contract of a sociology lecturer who was accused of urging violence against conservative voters. The university said in a statement yesterday that instructor John McTighe's contract has been withdrawn for the spring semester by mutual agreement, pending a review of a student's allegation about comments made after the Nov. 2 election. The student, according to the statement, claims McTighe made comments to his class that "could be interpreted to advocate gun violence against `religious zealots.'"

Last Thursday, the university received 1,600 e-mail messages after the American Family Association said on its Web site that McTighe had urged violence against conservative voters.

In an interview last week, McTighe acknowledged that he made comments Nov. 4 similar to those cited in a conservative student newspaper and on the association's Web site that conservative voters should be shot with automatic rifles. But he said that the comments were later taken out of context and that he was not calling for violence. McTighe couldn't be reached for comment yesterday. He said in the statement that there was "absolutely no attempt to advocate violence" and agreed to withdraw his contract because he has "confidence in the university process." McTighe is on a semester-by-semester contract. He said last week that he had signed a contract for the spring semester.

Student Brian Yates, publisher of the Louisville Patriot, a conservative student newspaper, quoted McTighe as telling his sociology class in explaining President Bush's re-election: "It was the religious zealots who say they are voting on morals. I think we should all buy AK-47s and shoot them all! That's what I would suggest, if it were allowed." McTighe has said the column misquoted him.

"We strongly support academic freedom," UofL President James Ramsey said in the statement. "The quote attributed to Professor McTighe is unacceptable and not an issue of academic freedom." Provost Shirley Willihnganz said in the statement that the review would be completed as soon as university officials could meet with students, who have left the campus for the holiday break. "Our goal is to determine the facts in this matter and to act responsibly to both students and faculty," she said.

Source (Via Commonsense & Wonder)

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