Sacked gay professor accuses university of being ‘the Taliban with a liberal face’
A professor in India has allegedly been sacked for being gay.
Ashley Tellis, an LGBT activist and associate professor, said St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Sciences in Bangalore had acted like “the Taliban with a liberal face” in firing him.
Writing on Facebook, he said he was told by the principal in an impromptu meeting on Thursday: “Students are disturbed by your personal opinions.
Despite Tellis being owed one month’s notice, the principal added: “The management has got to know of these opinions. I have been asked to relieve you with immediate effect.”
After receiving the news, Tellis hit back, accusing the university of “rank homophobia and unbelievable violence.”
He said that at St. Joseph’s, “Homophobia is something LGBT out faculty, or even faculty not out, face every day of our lives.
“I was stared at and jeered and comments were passed as I walked by by students, teachers and every level of person.
“It is something we LGBT people have to deal with just like women deal with sexual harassment. It is so endemic that it is just taken for granted.”
He had tried to have a positive influence on students, saying: “I wish the students were really disturbed.
“It is the job of the teacher to keep the student disturbed. If the student is not disturbed, how will anything change in the world?
“To be destabilised, to be disturbed is the achievement of the teacher. It is not a reason to fire a teacher.”
He was not surprised by the news, which he said came after the university discovered he was gay.
“For me, this is not a new story. This is not the first time this has happened to me and it will not be the last.
“But, unlike the students, I have not, am not and will not take it lying down.”
The university released a statement saying that Tellis had defined his sexuality in his application, something the professor has denied.
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“While we appreciated his intellectual abilities and his scholarship,” the university continued, “we were pained to note that he seemed to pay no heed to the sensitivities of undergraduate students from heterogeneous backgrounds.
“After receiving several complaints from students and their parents about Prof Ashley having crossed the line repeatedly in his interaction and comments, the management decided that it would be for the best to terminate his services.”
In response, Tellis said that “no matter what you do or do not do as a gay man, you are doomed for just being gay.”
He also pledged to stand his ground, saying: “I aim to destabilise. The conservative nature of students and institutions does not mean I will hide who I am or what I want to say.”
Another Indian college told female students not to lock their doors last week, for fear of lesbian sex.