Faculty Letter to SUNY Fredonia in Support of Stephen Kershnar

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education posted a letter in support to Stephen Kershnar. This is because Stephen Kershnar was banned from the SUNY Fredonia campus for publically engaging in a philosophical debate about the sinfulness of sexual acts between children or adults. More background information about this controversy can be found here.

It remains to see how SUNY Fredonia would differentiate Professor Kershnar’s conversation of these issues from the Brain a Vat Podcast in 2022. This podcast attracted the attention of conservative activist activists.  After the publication of his first article, Kershnar was made full professor and served as the department chair. The university almost seems to have recognized the fact that he had been doing simple philosophical work up until the world called for him. It is almost as if SUNY Fredonia wouldn’t mind throwing any other professor under a bus if they were suddenly in the middle of public debate about their scholarly work.

While the initial signatories of the letter were primarily philosophers and scholars, it’s open to other signatories. If you would like to join the list, contact

The letter is:

You have not described the video podcast “widely shared”, but Professor Kershnar actually discussed ethical questions relating to child sexual contact. Not It has been widely viewed. A clip of the podcast has been shared widely. It is important that universities are safe places for scholars to engage in careful thought about the logic and implications regarding arguments on ethical human behaviour. This podcast features Professor Kershnar with his colleagues. If such inquires are not possible, society will suffer if moral ideas are suppressed or censored due to their unpopularity or offense the wider public. Intellectual engagement can help us all see the errors in Professor Kershnar’s ideas.

The whole article is available here.

Here and here are earlier letters of FIRE and Academic Freedom Alliance describing the concerns about academic freedom raised in this case.