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Students criticize hiring of theoretical physicist because he defends monogamy

They want ‘safe spaces’ from him

Aron Wall was not a fan of the 2015 Supreme Court decision that took marriage policy away from the states and federalized same-sex marriage.

The postdoctoral researcher at the University of California-Santa Barbara, who studies “quantum gravity and black hole thermodynamics,” wrote a lengthy blog post three years ago on “the implications of gay marriage for the culture” in light of the ruling.

Citing both his Christian beliefs and the history of homosexual relations across cultures, Wall questioned whether American gay couples would adopt “the norms and practices of heterosexual married couples” in light of research that half of such couples are not monogamous with each other.

His main argument was the value of monogamy:

Like anyone else, what gay people need is to turn to Christ and learn to live in freedom from the harmful fleshly desires which are indeed part of the human condition for everyone.  But if they cannot accept this, it is far better that they should live in a committed exclusive relationship, than that they should live the notoriously promiscuous, reckless, and obscene lifestyle characteristic of the cultural venues of the gay community.  (Note: I do not identify all gay individuals or couples as being members of this “gay community”; those are different things.)

Without even linking his blog post, The Cambridge News reduced Wall’s thoughtful and nuanced argument to his “promiscuous, reckless and obscene” line and implied it referred to all gay people and couples. It called his views “homophobic.”

Now that the researcher (left) has been hired by Cambridge University’s math department, student activists are claiming the presence of a Christian with typical beliefs on sexuality threatens them.

Wall might not make it to his start date in January, given this rhetoric that his views violate the university’s diversity and inclusion statement:

Cambridge University Student Union’s (CUSU) LGBT+ campaign president Alistair Hyde … questioned whether the department’s hiring process was ‘careful or thorough enough.’

The professor has applied to join a college, and Mr Hyde questioned whether Mr Wall should be involved in the pastoral side of student life.

He said: “It would be inappropriate to pair an LGBT+ student with a supervisor known to be prejudiced against members of this particular marginalised group.

“Students will demand safeguarding policies when people are hired that are openly homophobic or prejudiced against marginalised groups.”

Another CUSU officer said that because graduate students’ relationships with their supervisors are “very close,” students may have trouble interacting with someone whose views are “very homophobic”:

The Student Union’s LGBT+ campaign said they were working to ‘gain assurance’ from the maths department they would ensure there are safe spaces for LGBT+ students, and there were plans in place to deal with any discrimination.

So far Cambridge is saying that every employee must show “mutual respect and consideration to all other members of our community.” The university also released a statement on Wall’s behalf to Inside Higher Ed, promising that he has never “nor will I ever” let his personal views “adversely affect my working or teaching interactions.” (Inside Higher Ed also defames Wall, calling him “anti-gay.”)

Indeed, Wall’s three-year-old blog post – which affirms God’s love for people of every orientation – is markedly more tolerant than the recent op-ed written by Northeastern University Prof. Suzanna Walters, which defends the right of women to “hate men” simply for being male.

Wall announced his new “lectureship” – a position “roughly equivalent” to “assistant professor” – in March on his blog, which appears to be a treat for science and church nerds.

These words may be prophetic against him:

The good news is, it seems I don’t have to worry about getting tenure. Technically there’s a 5 year probationary period before I’d get appointed to retirement age, but apparently no one in Maths [the British shorthand for mathematics] has ever been denied in living memory.  (Although you never know, I could always be the first—everyone’s always said I’m exceptional.)

Read Wall’s marriage post and hiring post, and the slanted Cambridge News and Inside Higher Ed reports.

MORE: Higher ed debates whether women and ‘trans women’ are different

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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