According to Greg Fenves, the president of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, the school will be reviewing “the concerns and complaints” about Thomas Hubbard, a professor in the university’s Department of Classics who has written controversial papers on the ancient Greco-Roman practice of pederasty, sexual relations between adult men and minors.
Hubbard was criticized last fall by a group of students protesting the university’s handling of acts of sexual misconduct by other professors.
In December, the group staged a disruptive protest outside of Hubbard’s home.
The students called Hubbard a “pedophile” and accused him of being an associate of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), which advocates for pedophilia.
While Hubbard claims that he studies and writes on “pederasty” and not “pedophilia,” and denies being an associate of NAMBLA, he admits in an online document attributed to him that the organization “distributed part of a print run” of a book that he wrote on the subject.
“Nothing in this book or any of my publications can credibly be said to ‘encourage’ violation of existing law, any more than work on drug decriminalization encourages drug use,” he said.
Hubbard has called for modern age of consent laws to be reconsidered, reportedly calling them a “sad by-product” of a “naive and self-righteous era.”
“Modern legislation is shown to be premised on outmoded developmental theories and legal paradigms, rather than on sound social science or historical understanding,” writes Hubbard in another publication. “I argue that legal regimes created to protect or control girls’ sexuality cannot be transferred to boys’ sexuality without engendering great harm.”
According to course records at UT, Hubbard taught two classes last fall: “Intro to Classical Mythology” and a course on “Horace, Odes, and Satire.” He is not scheduled to teach any courses this semester.
“Personally, if the world’s largest pedophile advocacy group endorsed my book, I would reconsider my life,” one student who took his course told The Austin American-Statesman.
“Students, UT Austin community members, and others are disturbed by Hubbard’s writings about sexual relations between teenagers and adults,” Wrote Fenves in a letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News. “I understand their concerns about his ideas. I personally find them outrageous.”
Fenves said that faculty at the university have “broad academic freedom,” but that they should not “introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.”
“For the last few years, the university has assigned Professor Hubbard to teach Classics courses that do not relate to the controversial topics in his writings,” wrote Fenves. “But we are aware of the concerns and complaints about those classes this semester. We have been and are reviewing them and will take appropriate action, within the bounds of academic freedom and the constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.