Professor Robert Oscar Lopez says he always suspected the day would come when his employer, the University of California, Northridge, would move to oust him from his tenured position teaching English literature.
Lopez became quite famous a few years ago after he “outed” himself as both bi-sexual and having been raised by lesbians. Writing in the academic online journal The Public Discourse three years ago, Lopez wrote his upbringing by two lesbians had been harmful to him and that he now opposed same-sex marriage. Despite appearing on a relatively small site, Lopez’s explosive essay has more than 9,000 Facebook shares.
Lopez was a marked man from that moment. Lopez became an even more outspoken opponent of gay marriage, gay adoption and gay surrogacy. He founded a movement for children’s rights, filed an amicus brief in favor of man-woman marriage with the Supreme Court, and published a book about attacks on him and his colleagues by the Big Gay Hate Machine.
He now charges that some of the groups after him, including the gay Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and others, likely sent students into his classes to gin up charges against him so that he would be harassed into silence and eventually dismissed. Whether that’s true or not, at least one student did begin to monitor Lopez and she did begin filing charges against him sometime in 2014.
The charges against Lopez shifted almost constantly and to this day he has never been shown the formal complaint from the still-unidentified former student. His understanding of the charges against him have been from meetings with university administrators and taking notes.
Her first complaint centered around a conference called The Bonds that Matter that Lopez organized at the Reagan Library, a forty-minute drive from the UC-Northridge campus. The conference featured noted speakers on divorce, third party reproduction, and adoption.
She says she was coerced into attending, that she was never informed of what the subject matter of the conference would be, and that she was offended by some of what she heard that day. She said the conference should have come with a trigger warning that it might cause trauma to gays and lesbians. She also said she broke down “in tears, crying.”
She says speakers explained that “all women who use sperm banks are evil” and that “gay people cannot be good parents.” She also complained about a brochure produced by the Ruth Institute she picked up at the conference aimed at the “victims of the sexual revolution” including those who tried the gay life and now want out.
Once the complaint was made, Lopez stepped beyond the Looking Glass and into the world of university investigations. For the next 378 days Lopez and his paid lawyers spent countless hours trying to keep up with the charges and investigations by multiple university administrates and their lawyers.
All the along the way, Lopez reports that he was considered guilty. In a blog post, Lopez writes, “Once you place a faculty member under investigation, the gears are in motion for a hellish inquest, involving gag orders, document productions, interrogations, and ruinous anxiety because the professor has no idea what’s going to happen next.”
He was formally charged with “discrimination,” one of the few charges that can result in revocation of tenure and dismissal. In one of the early interrogations, a university administrator “started repeating the view that my conference at the Reagan Library was similar to a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, that that what I’d done was the same as tricking students into going to a white supremacist anti-black rally.”
It should be noted that the speakers at the conference, while controversial, are not considered wild-eyed radicals. Jennifer Lahl speaks on the dangers to women of selling their eggs or renting their wombs. She’s from Berkley and is a frequent guest on liberal campuses. In fact, Lahl specializes in speaking to the left. Alana Newman spoke, a folk singer, who was born from surrogacy and is now an advocate against it. Perhaps the most controversial speaker was Jennifer Roback Morse who runs the Ruth Institute and who focuses broadly on what she calls the “victims of the sexual revolution.”
None of the speakers talked about gay issues and Lopez provided the tapes to prove it. There was one exchange between Newman and one student who asked about gays and surrogacy, but the student turned out to be the complainant. So, the only person who brought up the gay issue at the conference was the student who complained the conference slammed gays.
Lopez provided documents that also showed the students were not coerced. In fact, they didn’t even have to attend the conference. It was one of two options in the course. Most of the class chose the conference option.
After a year long investigation, the university returned a report to Lopez on October 16. The charge of “discrimination” had disappeared. In its place was a charge of creating a “hostile learning environment,” something that appeared for the very first time in this document, and the charge of “retaliation.”
The young woman charged that even though Lopez gave her an “A” in the class, he did not nominate her paper for an award because there was “bad blood” between them. There was no proof of such a assertion, only her word against his, but the university has determined that her credibility is superior to his and so they have found he is guilty of retaliatory acts and they are now considering what to do with him.
In a lengthy blog post, Lopez writes that one of his colleagues noted the young student had long been investigating Lopez, reading his work in The Federalist and First Things and asking questions about him. Lopez believes she was put up to this by wealthy LGBT groups dedicated to bringing him down. He notes that the gay Human Rights Campaign issued a report in the middle of this investigation that charged Lopez with spreading anti-LGBT hate around the globe. They printed the name of his employer and clearly hoped his job would be put in jeopardy.
Even if Lopez keeps his job, the Big Gay Hate Machine has won a victory. Even Lopez might trim his sails in the coming months and years. After all, who wants to go through something like that again. Moreover, the warning is strong to all other academics who might be tempted to stray from the liberal plantation. You do so at your own and your family’s peril.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse