St Andrews students concerned after ‘anti-gay’ professor is hired
Students at the University of St Andrews have complained after a professor who said homosexuality was “not normal” was given a full-time post.
The university’s student association said that Professor Roger Scruton told a newspaper in 2007 that homosexuality was “not normal” and has made similar arguments in two of his books.
Prof Scruton will begin his post as a quarter-time professorial fellow in moral philosophy next spring. He is currently a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC and the visiting professor of aesthetics at Oxford University.
The student body said that there were concerns that his appointment would create an “uncomfortable and unwelcoming atmosphere for gay students”.
It added that the university has confirmed Prof Scruton will be required to sign up to anti-discrimination policies and that students would look forward to “engaging [him] in debate”.
A joint statement from the director of representation Siena Parker and the students body said: “We recognise that universities must protect freedom of speech, but we think Scruton’s views on sexuality are anachronistic and unsupportable.
“We look forward to challenging him in debate when he arrives on campus.”
A university statement given to the Scotsman said: “Like all members of staff, Prof Scruton will be expected to abide by our equal opportunities and anti-discrimination policies.
“Universities, however, particularly where philosophical argument is concerned, must be the one place where differing and difficult views can be freely held, expressed and challenged without fear of discrimination.
“That is the essence of academic freedom.”