Both nervous and yet blunt, I would later seem strange, even in the eyes of gay and bisexual adults who had little patience for someone like me.
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He also partially defends the work of Mark Regnerus, whose controversial study of the children of gay parents has now largely been discredited. While individuals raised by gay and lesbian parents have a range of feelings about their families, scholars generally have said that there is no evidence that such children are more or less well adjusted than are the children of straight parents. Lopez said in an interview that the essay was a kind of public acknowledgment of his longstanding views on adoption by gay parents: that it treads on the rights of children in that they may be denied the right to know their biological parent and may be expected not to criticize their families.
The essay generated immediate backlash on blogs, with some calling it hate speech.
Much of the content has been deleted, but Lopez used to blog frequently about his opposition to gay marriage and adoption. Some of his archived posts go far beyond mainstream positions against gay marriage. Lopez said it was a blacklisting of sorts, and that he was no longer welcome to speak at conferences in the U. So he traveled abroad and continued to write legal briefs for gay marriage cases. He also earned tenure in , despite the tumult. But that provost retired just as things on campus came to a head for Lopez. In fall , Lopez offered students in all four of his courses -- those on American literature and the classics, respectively -- a choice between two assignments.
The first was to answer 10 questions based on course readings. The second was prepare a presentation on the readings to share at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library during a conference Lopez was organizing on modern family issues. Lopez said he was surprised that most of his students wanted to attend the conference, but that some later said they wanted to attend because it was the perceived easier option.
He warned all attendees in advance that there would be talk about adoption generally at the conference, called Bonds That Matter. But he said he purposely organized the conference to avoid discussions of gay marriage or anything that students might feel was antigay. All participants were required to stay for the entire session, which featured talks on divorce, adoption and surrogacy, and how they affect children and, to a lesser extent, women.
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Speakers didn't necessarily take typical conservative positions on social issues. One speaker talked about the physical and psychological effects of surrogacy on repeat surrogate mothers, for example. The idea in both the written and the conference options was to relate class readings and discussions to modern-day issues in some way, an idea he outlined in the course syllabus.
Lopez said that one student in attendance raised the issue of sex and parenthood among gay couples with a speaker -- Alana Newman , who questions the effects of surrogacy and egg and sperm donations on children -- who had not planned on discussing it. Back in class, the student criticized the conference as antigay.
Lopez said he told the student that if she felt uncomfortable with his teaching methods, she could finish the class remotely. More than six months later, days after the student graduated, Lopez was informed by the university that the student had filed a complaint about him related to Title IX of the Education Amendments of , which prevents discrimination based on sex.
Lopez said the student also said he retaliated against her by not recommending her for a merit award. Lopez initially objected to the timeline for the complaints, saying that the student had failed to file her grievance in a timely manner.
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But Hua said it was acceptable for a student to wait months or even to graduate before lodging a complaint. An investigation ensued.
Lopez said it took place largely without his participation, and that he still has yet to see explicit charges against him or to defend himself. The October letter from Yi Li, provost, is the most detailed accounting of the charges against Lopez, and of the findings of the investigation. Students also claimed Lopez coerced them into attending the event because the other assignment option was too lengthy, and by expressing his strong preference that they attend the event, according to the letter.
Students in different course sections all described similar events during the investigation. Ultimately, the university determined that while the relationship between Lopez's classroom content and that of the conference was tenuous at best, there was still enough of a possible link for the assignment to be covered by academic freedom. But it said that Lopez misrepresented the conference enough to students to possibly be in violation of unspecified professional conduct policies.
The university definitively determined that there was sufficient evidence to conclude, based on a preponderance of evidence standard, that Lopez had engaged in intimidation against students who complained about the conference by asking them via email and in person to seek to resolve their issues with him before making a formal complaint.
Lopez denies it, saying the students must be conspiring, possibly with the help of outside groups. Li has declined to meet with him or offer other additional information, Lopez said. There is no way, with so much organized trolling, for the calls for safe space to allow for dissenters from orthodox positions on things like same-sex parenting.
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