BLOGThis Professor Was Demoted and Later Effectively Fired for Expressing His Views

By Posted on: | March 28, 2019

Dr. Allan Josephson served as the Division Chief of Pediatric Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Louisville for almost fifteen years. He had an exemplary record of impeccable leadership.

Yet in November 2017, the university demoted Dr. Josephson to the role of a junior faculty member.

What changed?

A few years ago, Dr. Josephson was alarmed by the rapid growth of transgenderism. He was particularly worried about the life-changing effects of giving children hormones and surgeries to treat gender dysphoria. And why wouldn’t he be? Such drastic measures result in the sterilization of children with no proven effectiveness. So, Dr. Josephson wisely advocates that, when treating children with gender dysphoria, medical professionals should first seek to understand and treat the psychological issues that often cause this confusion before pursuing more radical, aggressive treatments.

He knew he needed to lend his expertise to the cultural conversation in order to stand up for the wellbeing of children. And thankfully, that’s exactly what he’s done.

Dr. Josephson has provided expert testimony in cases involving gender dysphoria. But it all came to a head in October 2017 when he spoke on a panel at the Heritage Foundation entitled “Gender Dysphoria in Children: Understanding the Science and Medicine.”

When the members of Dr. Josephson’s division at the University of Louisville learned about this speech, a few became angry and called for the university to remove him as Division Chief.

Less than seven weeks later, the university did just that. It demoted a distinguished professor and leader who had earned perfect marks on his 2014, 2015, and 2016 annual reviews.

That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Dr. Josephson in a lawsuit against the University of Louisville.

In explaining this demotion, the university acknowledged that Dr. Josephson was an excellent employee but that he was being removed simply because of his colleagues’ disagreement with his views on the treatment of children with gender dysphoria. For the next year, Dr. Josephson endured assignments typically given to much younger, less experienced faculty. Then in February 2019, the university announced that it would not renew his contract, a highly unusual decision that basically means the university is firing him.

This is not only unconstitutional but also completely counter to the values that the University of Louisville claims to hold.

In the Values Statement on the University of Louisville website, the university claims to “respect our right to differing and conflicting positions on issues.” It also claims to “celebrate diversity of thought.”

Hmmm. It doesn’t sound like Dr. Josephson’s differing opinion was respected. I guess at the University of Louisville, activism is more important than free speech and free thought.

Instead of encouraging debate and discussion on contentious issues, the university has made it clear: Only one viewpoint is welcome. That’s not what anyone should want to see coming out of a public university. After all, an attitude like this ignores not only the First Amendment but also the wellbeing of children struggling with gender dysphoria.

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