I thought this letter from Steven Pinker might be of interest to readers. I have several more like it.
Harvard College Professor
Johnstone Family Professor
Professor Edwin Ervin
Department of Philosophy
University of Miami
June 13, 2013
Dear Professor Ervin,
I join you and other scholars, writers, and activists in protesting the threat of dismissal
of a brilliant and distinguished scholar, Colin McGinn, from the University of Miami for
apparently nothing more serious than exchanging sexual banter with a graduate
student. Even if the University had a clear policy that regulated communications
between professor and student, the punishment is ludicrously disproportionate to the
alleged offense. As well as harming the reputation and intellectual quality of the
University of Miami, such an action would put a chill on communication between
faculty and graduate students and on the openness and informality on which
If the dismissal proceeds, I will certainly bring it up with the Foundation for Individual
Rights in Education, on whose advisory board I sit.
Feel free to circulate this letter, and to add my name to any list of McGinn’s supporters.
DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY