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SUNY Fredonia Senate Releases Statement on Stephen Kershnar

February 10, 2022

The University Senate Executive Committee at the State University of New York at Fredonia released a statement this week condemning recent comments by their colleague, philosopher Stephen Kershnar, suggesting that “adult-child” sex may be acceptable in some instances. The statement simultaneously affirms Kershnar’s right to make such statements and otherwise affirms the Senate’s commitment to “the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech.” WGRZ has the full statement here.

The Senate said it “condemns Dr. Kershnar’s statements on adult sex with children, finding them morally reprehensible and irresponsible, even as we recognize his right to make these statements. As faculty, we have the obligation to educate our students to become skilled, connected, creative, and responsible global citizens and professionals. Fredonia faculty are mandatory child abuse reporters and many of our students are training to be teachers, who are mandated child abuse reporters. We condemn Dr. Kershnar’s statements, which have the potential to normalize attitudes and behaviors that cause great emotional, psychological, and cognitive damage to survivors of child sexual abuse. Dr. Kershnar’s statements do not represent the values and ideals of the Fredonia University Senate.”

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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