A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization is calling for Hamlin University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to withdraw its accreditation following the dismissal of an assistant professor after displaying a picture of Muhammad during an art history class.
“We were as outraged as anyone when we heard about what was going on in Hamelin,” Alex Morey, director of campus rights advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), told Fox News Digital. “That is a very poor expression of academic freedom. There is absolutely no reason why an art history professor could not show a historical masterpiece to class.”
Erica Lopez-Prater, a former assistant professor of art history at Hamline University, was reportedly fired last month after a student complained about historical depictions of the founder of Islam in her art history course. I issued a syllabus warning students that the class will contain pictures religious figuresincluding Muhammad and Buddha, and students were told they could contact her with any concerns about the course material, according to a report from The New York Times.
Prater reportedly warned the students that a painting containing a picture of Muhammad would be shown a few minutes before the scheduled time, giving anyone who might be offended by such pictures an opportunity to leave the class.
FIRE appealed to the Commission on Higher Learning, an institutional accrediting body that has historically accredited post-secondary institutions in the central United States, to strip Hamlin University of its accreditation after the Muhammad controversy.
“Definitely Colleges and universities Across the country they are recognizing that there are certain populations at their colleges or universities that have historically been underrepresented or underrepresented, and they are trying to take action to correct what they feel should be corrected,” Morey said. It must stop at the line where you overstep the bounds of the rights of others.”
Morey continued, “In the case of private schools like Hamlin, where they make First Amendment-type promises, they commit not to influence institutional punishment on people who say things that some might consider hate speech.” “We have a student who says seeing a 14th-century masterpiece picture of the Prophet Muhammad in her art class is hate speech and offensive speech, but that kind of thing is protected by our laws.”
Despite multiple warnings, a senior student in the class later complained to officials about Muhammad’s image and was supported by the Muslim students who were not in class, resulting in Prater not being welcomed back to the school and sparking a national debate over academic freedom.
Hamlin University has doubled down on its position, according to L Statement from Vanessy Millerpresident of Hamlin University, which was sent to Fox News Digital.
“As Hamlin University is now under attack by forces outside our campus, I take this opportunity to comment and, in several important cases, to correct the record regarding critical aspects of this incident — as reported in the press and as shared by those who have They were forced into talking about academic freedom.”
Miller went on to say that the media coverage did not fairly portray the assistant professor’s departure, saying “The decision not to give her another class was made at the unit level and in no way reflects on her ability to adequately teach the class.”
“Propelled by a comment not well informed on the specifics of this situation, we now find ourselves at the center of an alleged confrontation between academic freedom and fairness. It has escalated to the point that I, the faculty, other campus staff and, to my great regret, one of our students now receive daily threats of violence.”
I also note that Hamlin is an independent university still closely associated with the United Methodist Church, and its basic principles are written in the words repeated on our campus by John Wesley: You may, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, for all the people you can You can, as long as you can.”We at Hamelin live by those words,” Miller wrote.
She added, “To do all the good you can partly reduce the harm. This is what has informed us about our decisions so far and will continue to inform them in the future. We hope you understand and respect the values that guide our efforts,” she added. .
United Methodist Church Recently there has been a worldwide unraveling over issues relating to sexuality and church government.
Fox News’ Timothy Newrozi contributed to this report.