Jul 30, 2010 Print this article

Catholic Professor Finally Reinstated at U of I after Massive Student Outcry

Peaceful protest achieves yet another victory

A special thanks to everyone -- 10,700 people -- who asked the U of I to reinstate Dr. Howell.

According to a July 29 press report by the Alliance Defense Fund, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana confirmed that it will once again allow Dr. Kenneth Howell to teach on Catholicism after recently firing him for explaining Catholic moral doctrine to members of his class.

“I have been offered to teach one course in the Fall and to be paid directly by the University,” wrote Dr. Howell. “I would like to thank you all for the support you have offered me during this difficult time. Our family has been greatly encouraged by the concern and prayers of so many people. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you.”

Prof. Howell, who had been teaching at the university since 2001, was relieved of his teaching duties based in part on an anonymous complaint sent via e-mail to university officials. The author of the email claimed to be “offended” by a class discussion on Catholic doctrine that explained why homosexual behavior is morally wrong.

“This shocking attempt to silence Dr. Howell is really an attempt to silence the truth,” said TFP Student Action director John Ritchie. “And when the truth is effectively muzzled in the halls of academia, then academic freedom is dead.”

The Power of Peaceful Protest

Once again, peaceful protest proved to be effective.  At least 10,700 TFP Student Action members and subscribers contacted the University of Illinois, urging its president to reinstate Dr. Howell.

Thousands of students and alumni rallied together, prayed, placed phone calls, wrote letters, chalked campus sidewalks, and sent emails.  In no time, a “Save Dr. Ken” facebook page gathered over 9,000 members.  And attorneys at Alliance Defense Fund prepared to take legal action.

Although the university offered to allow Dr. Howell to return to the classroom, the issue is not completely resolved.  The university stated in a letter that it would continue its investigation of Dr. Howell’s situation.  Therefore, TFP Student Action will remain vigilant and inform its members about any important developments or further need for action.