Letter: Prejudice against Republicans part of academia

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, who represents Newtown, Conn., left, is embraced by Conn. Sen. Toni Boucher, who represents western coast towns of Conn., after the passage of a gun-control bill in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, April 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – In a joint letter sent Wednesday to an English professor who openly criticized Republicans during a creative writing class on Monday, two Connecticut Republican lawmakers wrote that their constituents say prejudice against the GOP is part of “an oppressive intellectual climate” in academia.

“We often receive complaints by students and faculty who tell us they are fearful of expressing a conservative point of view or party affiliation, because of pressure and outright ridicule by peers and superiors at their schools,” wrote State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) and State Rep. Tim LeGeyt (R-17).

“Your derogatory political statements against Republicans in front of your class are a stark example of an oppressive intellectual climate that many of these complainants feel they endure.”

On Tuesday, Brett Terry, an adjunct English professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, apologized in a written statement for allowing “my own political opinions to color the discussion.” He said he regretted the language he used and apologized to any students in the room who were offended.

(MORE: Read the full letter here)

In an audio tape of his remarks posted online, Terry said if Republicans take control of Congress, “colleges will start closing” because “they don’t think money should go to giving you people dangerous ideas about how the world should be run.”

“We have listened to a recording of your unfortunate remarks before a creative writing class at Eastern Connecticut State University,” the Republican letter reads. “In this recording you unleash the following rant, that Republicans are “…racist, misogynist [woman-hating], money-grubbing people [who] have so much power over the rest of us.”

Boucher and LeGeyt called on the university to “take corrective measures against (Terry’s) Republican rant.”

“If you truly regret your remarks, you will apologize to your students in person and to the university that you represent, and invite those of different perspectives to partake in the lively and respectful debate that you mention you had not provided,” the letter concludes. “We look forward to serious efforts on your part, and on the part of the university to rectify this failure.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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