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Students stalk professor over his scholarship on ancient sexual practices. University does nothing.

No one arrested or punished under conduct code

What will the University of Texas do if you stalk a professor and harass him at home because you’re offended by his scholarship?

Nothing of substance, if the taxpayer-funded university’s response to student harassment of Thomas Hubbard is any indication.

No arrests have been made as of Tuesday night regarding a student protest at the classics professor’s house, nor student discipline meted out, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Students not only showed up to Hubbard’s house Monday night to shout that “he was a predator,” but also “banged on the front door of his home” and “filmed as he was escorted to safety by local police officers.”

Hubbard is known for his scholarship on ancient sexual practices, particularly physical relationships between adult men and teenage boys in cultures such as classical Greece. He describes the relationships as “pederasty,” distinct from “pedophilia,” or sexual relations with children.

The Monday night protesters, working under the moniker Fire the Abusers, documented their illegal harassment and called Hubbard a “known pedophile.” That slander, based on nothing more than Hubbard’s scholarship, provides the professor grounds to sue for defamation if he wishes.

A “revolutionary” news outlet also published video of the illegal harassment of Hubbard.

MORE: UTSA suspends professor (again) for asking for respectful conduct

It’s not clear how long students have been calling on the administration to remove Hubbard. The Austin American-Statesman reported Dec. 4 that activism against the classics professor piggybacked on earlier activism against two UT professors “with histories of sexual misconduct.”

Hubbard has written that pederasty in the ancient world, as he described it, constituted “proper learning experiences” and could inform how modern people view age-of-consent laws. He specifically blamed the late Victorian and Progressive eras for adopting such laws based on “outmoded gender constructions and ideological preoccupations.”

According to the American-Statesman, his work is celebrated by the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which published a book he edited, “Greek Love Reconsidered.” Scholars who contributed essays to the 2000 book came from UCLA, Northwestern and Johns Hopkins.

Hubbard, however, has disavowed NAMBLA, telling the newspaper he’s not “influenced by or sympathetic to NAMBLA’s radical position.” He neither endorses its “idiosyncratic approach to legal reform” nor shares the “sexual orientation of its members.”

The university has upheld Hubbard’s First Amendment right to his scholarship in media interviews and said he’s not violating any campus policy.

A spokesperson told the American-Statesman that “the study of controversial and even offensive ideas is protected by the First Amendment,” but Hubbard has not been alleged to “violate university policy or takes actions that threaten the safety of the campus community.”

After the illegal protest at Hubbard’s home, the spokesperson told the Chronicle that the administration condemns the “threats of physical harm” against Hubbard and vandalism against his home, “and will work to protect them from harm.”

The university did not explain why no one had been arrested or punished under UT policy – with their own video evidence – in spite of the spokesperson’s reminder that “threatening anyone’s safety violates the law and university standards of conduct.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education did not pass judgment on whether the Monday night protest was illegal.

Will Creeley, senior vice president for legal and public advocacy for the civil liberties group, told the Chronicle that students “have the right to stand outside and yell,” so long as they do not cross the “statutory lines of stalking and criminal harassment.”

But the First Amendment does not protect “disrupting classes, threatening people in their homes, and engaging in violent or otherwise criminal behavior,” Creeley said.

Read the articles.

MORE: Students demand prof’s firing for previous writings on homosexuality

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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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