A conservative professor who speaks openly about his opposition to gay marriage after having been raised by a lesbian couple has announced that he will be resigning his tenured position following a long battle with liberal activists.
Robert Oscar Lopez, former associate professor of English and classics at California State University at Northridge, recently resigned his position with the academic institution.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Lopez explained that the decision to move on came as a result of longstanding mounting pressure from activists on and off campus.
"It was a gradual decision-making process. By about 2014, I knew that the off-campus activists weren't separate from things going on on-campus," said Lopez.
"Online trolls had been posting for years that they were able to get CSUN employees on the phone to share information with them, but for a while I tried to give the institution the benefit of the doubt."
By last November, explained Lopez, he found evidence that off-campus activists and his colleagues were working with each other to try and oust him.
"At that point I had no doubt that there were people in CSUN providing information and support to activists off-campus, and this coincided with my realizing more strange things with my work computer and emails getting hacked," continued Lopez.
"I still held out on quitting until the end of spring semester 2016, because I wanted to see if the last few people I trusted on campus were actually my friends. A few things happened that revealed that they weren't, and I took this as God telling me that I needed to finish everything I had pending, and then leave. There was nothing to be redeemed by staying there."
In response to Lopez saying he was unjustly targeted for his views, the university told CP: "CSUN takes very seriously its obligation to protect and uphold faculty academic freedom rights. While CSUN takes exception to many of the statements professor Lopez has made public, we are unable to comment further regarding the details given our obligation to protect the privacy of students and employees.
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"However, I can share our core principles. CSUN has a long history of welcoming a diversity of perspectives and championing free thought and discourse within our academic environment, while ensuring that this environment is free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation."
An author of both fiction and nonfiction works, Lopez has garnered controversy over the past few years over his objections to same-sex marriage and homosexuality.
In an essay written for the conservative Witherspoon Institute in August 2012, Lopez argued that being raised by a same-sex couple was harmful for him.
"People in our community didn't really know what was going on in the house. To most outside observers, I was a well-raised, high-achieving child, finishing high school with straight A's," wrote Lopez.
"Inside, however, I was confused. When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird. I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast."
Due to his many public statements against gay marriage and homosexuality, LGBT activists have denounced his rhetoric and have called for his firing.
Last year, a student accused Lopez of discrimination when he gave his students the option of attending a conference on family issues that the professor spoke at.
"In October , the university informed Lopez that while there was insufficient evidence that he'd discriminated against students on the basis of sex, there was sufficient evidence that he had 'attempted to intimidate and prevent' students from disagreeing with him about the conference," reported Inside Higher Ed.
"California State's academic freedom policy protects controversial content in the classroom, but notes that a professor should be careful not to introduce controversial subject matter which has 'no relation to his subject.'"
Regarding the resignation process, Lopez told CP that the official separation was not fully completed just yet.
"I have signed a separation form that sets the final day of work for the university. I have a few contractual projects I will be finishing, but I do not have a work computer, my office has been cleared, and I have no presence on campus whatsoever," said Lopez.
"God has been kind to me and I have new opportunities but they are rather different from tenure-track academic work."