SUNY Fredonia: Philosophy Professor Suspended for Philosophizing About Pedophilia


State University of New York - Fredonia

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Case Overview

Stephen Kershnar, a tenured professor of philosophy at SUNY Fredonia, where he is known for pointed, Socratic questions about morality, was suspended by the university’s leadership over what the university called “reprehensible” views shared on two podcasts about the philosophical and ethical arguments concerning sexual contact between children and adults. The suspension followed a law enforcement directive banning Kershnar from campus, citing unidentified “safety” concerns. FIRE’s Faculty Legal Defense Fund retained counsel for Kershnar and, on February 3, FIRE wrote to the university to explain that Kershnar’s speech, however offensive others may find it, is protected by the First Amendment, and that the university’s actions, if predicated on threats of violence over Kershnar’s speech, effectuate a heckler’s veto.