Opinion: Tenured Griffin goes too far

It’s easy to hate on racism. It is easy to preach rhetoric about American liberties.On the UVM campus it would be hard to find a single student that didn’t believe in upholding the right to free speech. It would be equally hard to find a student that supported racism.Recently, it seems as if we have a white supremacist on campus — we need to make some tough choices to reconcile this discrepancy. As Americans we are quick to defend our constitutional rights to free speech, but where do we stand when the speaker is a racist?  Do we defend the right to racism as free speech?UVM professor Robert S. Griffin is under scrutiny for his racist publications and ties to the white supremacy movement. Local columnists have urged the University administration to remove the tenured professor.  But, if we agree to remove the professor, we would be dismissing a faculty member for his personal beliefs.  The University would never think of  — nor would a local columnist ask for — asking a homosexual professor, for example, to be laid off. Rights and values should not have exceptions.  Griffin has the right to believe that Caucasians are superior to other races, just like you have the right to believe in unicorns and how Tom cruise can believe in thetans and L Ron Hubbard.  On the other hand, as a tenured professor at a large state university, it is a conflict of interest — to use a nice little euphemistic phrase — if he were to teach minority students and hate them too — to use a blunt fact. Griffin should be asked to resign.  Not because he is a racist, but because his racist beliefs compromise the educational process and academic achievement of the minority students in his classes.It is important to not let ourselves or our society fall down the slippery slope of limiting liberties.  This situation cannot be taken lightly.  However, when personal beliefs interfere with professional responsibilities, the thin line between beliefs and practices is crossed.