Article
November 10, 2022

Circling the Wagons

A prominent academic society defends a professor who advocated destigmatizing pedophilia.

by Christopher F. Rufo

Last year, Old Dominion University professor Allyn Walker was forced to resign after an uproar about his campaign to destigmatize pedophilia, which included the suggestion to rebrand the word “pedophile” as “minor-attracted person” and to provide child pornography to offenders to appease their illicit desires.

Many considered the case open and shut. But this month, the American Society of Criminology, a professional association housed at Ohio State University, published an unequivocal defense of the embattled professor. They suggest that Walker should never have been forced to resign and lay blame on what they call a “hate and trolling attack” motivated by “misinformation” targeting Walker’s “non-binary, transgender and Jewish” status.

“Our friend and colleague lost their job [Walker is a female-to-male transgender and uses “they/them” pronouns] because they were defined as the problem instead of the transphobic, antisemitic hate,” wrote Old Dominion professors Ruth Triplett and Mona Danner. “Dr. Walker is a real live person with family, friends, pets and a home, who was on the path to obtaining tenure at an institution they were committed. Little concern is given to the harm done to them when the university rejected them just when they needed the support of a strong community.”

This is becoming a common defensive technique on the Left. Activists defend any transgression—even a campaign to destigmatize pedophilia—with the shield of “misinformation,” “transphobia,” and “harassment.” And, unfortunately, in many cases, it is enough. After resigning from Old Dominion, Walker quickly found new employment at Johns Hopkins University, where he works at a research center on child sex abuse.

There is a rot in the university system that conservatives must confront directly. Next year, state legislators will begin to consider a suite of reforms that will bring public universities, in particular, back from the brink. They should channel the public outrage regarding these incidents into constructive legislative action.

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