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Christopher Newport University is facing calls to fire a scholar in residence who questioned DC Comics’ recent decision to make a fictional character, the son of Superman and Lois Lane, Jon Kent, bisexual. Scholar and writer Sophia A. Nelson said on Twitter that she doesn’t “get why this is necessary. I don’t! What if Christian parents of children reading comic books don’t want their kids exposed to bi-sexual [sic] characters? This is being pushed on kids. Then parents have to explain it. And most cannot!” Some professors at Christopher Newport spoke out against the comment, and students organized a protest. Some said Nelson should lose her position at the university.

Paul Trible, university president, said in a campus email that “we will help our family heal” and “we will do the work,” including by bringing Nelson to campus for an “open dialogue.” Nelson “is eager to engage in this give and take, and offered it before we asked,” Trible said. “We will schedule opportunities for her to have discussions with students, faculty and staff. She welcomes the conversation. She will have an opportunity to share who she is, her views and opinions, and her heart. She will talk about why she tweeted what she did. We will listen. And we will share our views, opinions and hearts -- the pain, the anger, and the questions.” Nelson “will listen,” Trible added. “She will learn what it means to be a part of this community. Everyone may never agree, but we will support our LGBTQ+ students and colleagues, listen, and talk, and learn how to be different, together.”

Nelson, whose tweets are now protected, told WTKR that she immediately offered to come to campus for such conversations after she learned her tweet had sparked controversy. Nelson said she still doesn’t think it’s “appropriate to sexualize” comic book characters, but that “It’s a learning curve, and I clearly got it wrong.” Nelson reportedly sent out an apology tweet and then sent a letter to the student newspaper, but the letter wasn’t published because it was too long.

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