According to a post on his Facebook page, Dr. Aubyn Fulton will be fired from Pacific Union College at the end of this Spring Quarter.
Fulton, who has taught at PUC for 28 years has been at the center of numerous controversies, including:
- That sexual orientation is resistant to change, and that it's not harmful for children to be adopted by gay parents.
- Fulton said his lectures often prompt a classroom conversation about whether homosexuality is a sin. If a student asks for his opinion, he’ll share his conclusion that “the Bible does not condemn as sin--loving and committed homosexual relationships.”
- Fulton is the mentor of the college’s unofficial Gay and Straight People club
- Inviting ex-Adventist-turned-atheist Ryan Bell to speak to his students in a formal class setting. Refusing to consult with the president (Heather Knight), academic dean, my department chair or department colleagues before issuing the invitation.
- Teaching that homosexuality (sexual orientation) has biological contributions.
- Claiming that academic freedom gives him the right to run his college courses as he sees fit.
Aubyn Fulton's Facebook page:
I am informed that Pacific Union College President Heather Knight will fire me at the end of this Spring Quarter. I have not yet been given written notification with a specific statement of the alleged cause, but the president transmitted to me previously that she would be firing me because of the events surrounding my decision to invite Ryan Bell (“infamous ex-Adventist Atheist", as he has been described to me by more than one alarmed correspondent) to speak to one of my classes last Fall, and my subsequent public criticism of the president’s decision to disinvite him, over my strenuous objections. I believe I referred to that action as “the most egregious violation of academic freedom” I had ever encountered over my nearly three decades as a member of the PUC faculty. I stand by that judgment.
Obviously I dispute the right of the Board to terminate my contract without just cause, and I dispute the claim that either my invitation to Ryan, or my public criticism of his dis-invitation, constitutes cause under the PUC Faculty Handbook, which functions as the faculty contract. If academic freedom means anything, it has to mean the right (even the responsibility) to express, appropriately and without personal attack, criticism of and disagreement with institutional authority. I will be pursuing all appropriate options available to me to oppose this termination, which I believe to be in violation of the terms of my contract. Whatever the outcome of those efforts however, it is also clear that I will never again be employed by PUC after this June.
I will have more to say about all of this. For now I just want to say three things:
1. How proud I have been for most of my career to be part of the faculty at PUC, long known in the world of Adventist higher education for the high quality of its academic programs and the dedication and talent of its teachers. While PUC may no longer be a place where I can effectively teach with integrity, I by no means want to suggest that this is true for many of my colleagues across campus, who have done and will continue to do outstanding work here.
2. What a privilege and joy it has been to be part of the Psychology and Social Work Faculty, who have been colleagues, friends and family for more than thirty years. The community of Adventist Christian faith and learning that we were able to construct together with our students was a powerful and profound instance of the Kingdom. Wherever we each go in the future, we will take that with us.
3. Finally, to all of those who suffered through my classes, whether in a single quarter of General Psychology or four years of the full Psychology major, current and former: thank-you. Whatever the institutional drawbacks of working at PUC, and despite the fact that more than a few of you will see my departure as long overdue, the academic dialectic, the give and take with students in and especially out of the classroom, has been a blast. I have enjoyed every minute of being your teacher
If this action by Heather Knight is part of an effort to clean up Adventist academia, I say "Good show!" May there be many more prunings of the vine as we restore our unique scriptural identity and Bible-based morality to the children of the Adventist Message.
College students are already threatening on social media to protest the action when it becomes official. Stay tuned, mates.
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).