by Reagan Reese
The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) held a group counseling session to help students cope after a professor tweeted about the connection between gay men and monkeypox, according to the event’s website.
UTD Professor Timothy Farage tweeted an article from the Daily Mail on July 15 which reported that a high amount of monkeypox patients were gay men with the comment: “can we at least try to find a cure for homosexuality, especially among men?” UTD’s Gender Center & the Student Counseling Center responded by holding a group counseling session for students to discuss and cope with the “appalling” comments, according to an email by UTD Dean Stephanie Adams, obtained by UTD’s student-run newspaper, The Mercury.
The comments left many “not feeling safe” and with “concern” for classmates, Adams wrote in the email. The counseling event was provided as an immediate resource to assist those who “expressed disappointment” because of Farage’s comments.
The counseling event, called “Embrace Space: Affirming & Supporting Our Diverse Community at UT Dallas,” was held as a “space for sharing resources, support and allowing space to process emotions” and at full capacity, according to the event website. The center released a statement prior addressing the “significant damage” the tweet caused to the LGBTQ community, an Instagram post showed.
The center called for the university to punish Farage and UTD responded by placing the professor under investigation. Farage attempted to defend himself in a tweet that has now been deleted, The Mercury reported.
Please read the below statement from UT Dallas.
The University offers resources aimed at affirming and assisting our LGBTQ+ community and encourage all our community members to take advantage of these services: https://t.co/b7CzlH7zTH pic.twitter.com/0XqjTsQSeX
— UT Dallas (@UT_Dallas) July 16, 2022
FIRE, a free speech protection organization, published a statement defending Farage, saying he and his tweet are protected under the First Amendment. They requested all documents regarding Farage and the investigation be released.
“Although UTD has not yet formally published Farage, an investigation alone into constitutionally protected speech can violate the First Amendment, even if the investigation concludes in favor of the speaker,” FIRE wrote.
Farage’s Twitter account has since been deleted and he issued an apology for his tweet, The Mercury reported.
“The article said that a common way to transmit this disease was by men having sex with men,” Farage wrote. “My comment about the article was I thought that doctors should try to find a cure for male homosexuality. I actually thought that this was a compassionate comment because I’ve had a few homosexual friends who wished they were heterosexual. Since then, I’ve received a great deal of negative feedback. And it is clear to me that my comments were offensive and hurtful to many. I promise you that I had no intention of offending anyone.”
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