Education | News | Pennsylvania

PA Professor Who Called Lesbian Student 'Disgusting' and 'Abnormal' Told Another Gay Student He Would 'Burn in Hell': VIDEO

Heller

Yesterday I posted about Christina Santiago, a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania who was humliated by her professor during a class discussion on homosexuality.

SantiagoSantiago's business professor, who has not been identified, called it "disgusting, unnatural, and abnormal" and when Santiago identified herself as a lesbian he told her that the words applied to her. The teacher continued, telling her that "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam.

Last night another student came forward.Michael Heller, a graduate of IUP, says the same thing happened to him, KDKA reports:

Heller, who is gay, described a list of anti-gay comments he claims the professor told the class: “God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, and that being gay was an abomination. That anybody that was gay was going to burn in Hell and that’s what they deserved.”

Heller says he had to leave the room because he was in tears. “It destroyed me because at that point in my life, I wasn’t really sure who I was,” said Heller. “I had just come out of the closet a few years earlier.”

Heller said his complaints to the school at the time have apparently been ignored.

The professor has yet to be identified and the school says it is still in the "fact-finding" stage.

Watch KDKA's interview with Heller, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Someone is getting fired.

    Posted by: Max | Oct 18, 2011 8:39:53 AM


  2. And what we mean by "Fact-Finding" is covering our asses in preparation for a lawsuit.

    Seriously, how could a faculty really claim to be completely unaware?

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Oct 18, 2011 8:42:10 AM


  3. Oh boo hoo hoo Heller. If you would have grown some balls it might not have gotten this far.

    Kudos to you for coming out after someone else grew a spine though.

    Posted by: Marc C | Oct 18, 2011 8:45:06 AM


  4. I can't believe out of the hundreds, maybe thousands of students who were in class with the two lodging complaints and also heard this professor's comments, NONE of them has revealed his name yet.

    That's just odd.

    Posted by: sparks | Oct 18, 2011 8:49:32 AM


  5. By "fact finding", what they mean is covering up the situation and hoping it goes away. That's what they do in these parts. Absolutely nothing, anti-gay discrimination is par for the course, and is supported and justified by the school board and local community. I'm glad that this record of discrimination has been made public, and now action can be taken against the teacher and school board to prevent a similar situation from occurring.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 18, 2011 8:55:13 AM


  6. Sparks
    It isn't unusual for people not to want to be caught in the crosshairs of Hate. The MO is always to shoot the messenger . There seems to be pattern that this professor has and I am sure that others are aware of his opinions since he doesn't appear to be shy of sharing them with his class. I remember the good ol days when many believed that you could shame the Gay away. I suspect the professor is shadow boxing his own fears.

    Posted by: Jerry | Oct 18, 2011 9:00:36 AM


  7. Of course the Professor needs to be brought to task for his homophobic bigotry, and I know I am going to get slammed for this, however, this hit me like a bullet...Ms. Santiago, a GRADUATE student stated she "raised her hand and 'AXE' the professor"...I would think through all that education she would know the word 'ASK'.

    Posted by: CB | Oct 18, 2011 9:13:32 AM


  8. So if God didn't create Steve, who did? Seriously - I can't believe the utterly ridiculous things supposedly educated people believe.

    Posted by: sjorgl | Oct 18, 2011 9:18:39 AM


  9. So far it seems the only one with any balls is the lesbian. What was Heller waiting for, the tears to dry? Why hasn't Heller or Santiago released the professor's name?

    This is one reason I oppose tenure for teachers and college professors unless there are clauses that cover this kind of behavior.

    Something sounds fishy about this entire incident; what's being covered up? How long has this "professor" been saying these things? How long has the administration failed to take action? So many questions, so few facts.

    Posted by: Bob R | Oct 18, 2011 9:20:36 AM


  10. Five years ago it wasn't that common to take every anti-gay incident the media. He made an official complaint and they ignored it. That probably discouraged him from all further action

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 18, 2011 9:30:55 AM


  11. @Steve Very true. And the poor guy was so traumatized after being humiliated in front of the entire class that he probably would never have thought of going to the media. Maybe he was still closeted. A lot to consider. He did go to the school to lodge a complaint. They chose to do nothing.

    Posted by: Gigi | Oct 18, 2011 9:49:16 AM


  12. I find it hard to believe that with all the vetting of professorial candidates, that someone this callous and stupid made it into the ranks, even if he is a business professor. If it is true, then I hope they fire his ass. There are plenty of newly minted PhDs with better teaching skills who need jobs.

    Posted by: gwyneth cornrow | Oct 18, 2011 9:54:19 AM


  13. the school has to act against this professor. his personal beliefs have no place in the classroom. in 5-4-3-2-1 we will hear the same old song he is being persecuted for being a christian.

    Posted by: walter | Oct 18, 2011 9:59:11 AM


  14. I noticed that, in the Christine Santiago video, the professor, at one point, was referred to as "her." I think this may be a clue. IUP must be clamping down very hard on this to keep the professor's name out of the news. Getting rid of a tenured professor is very, very hard. The list of professors can be found here:
    http://www.iup.edu/mba/faculty/default.aspx

    Posted by: Abel | Oct 18, 2011 10:06:26 AM


  15. This is par for the course for rural PA. This state has the second-highest number of certified hate groups in the country. And since there are no statewide legal protections for gay people, not even in the university system, it's perfectly understandable that Heller never went public with his accusations. Santiago is very brave for going public.

    But the ongoing efforts to protect the teacher's identity are puzzling, to say the least. While it's somewhat understandable that the university wants to protect him (her?), why are the accusers being so, er, discreet?

    Posted by: jomicur | Oct 18, 2011 10:32:09 AM


  16. The Professor is right, "God" didn't make Adam and Steve, he made David and Jonathon.

    Ugh. That little pearl of Christian Right "wisdom" is even more than usually annoying. They must have combed the playgrounds of Christian elementary schools to come up with that one.

    Posted by: Caliban | Oct 18, 2011 10:58:37 AM


  17. Tenure will not necessarily protect this professor (and I am a tenured professor). Bullying and hate speech in class are not covered by academic freedom, particularly since there is no rational relationship between the topic (homosexuality) and the course (business). If this professor can be shown to have done this repeatedly in class, s/he could well be fired if the IUP administration has the courage to do it.

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 18, 2011 11:00:03 AM


  18. I think this is more about making sure there are grounds to fire a professor because of tenure. I had a professor in college who was a total whack job and had no business in the classroom. However, unless he or she does something criminal or along those lines it is hard to get rid of them. Most times universities turn a blind eye. Hopefully enough negative press will pressure them into action and get this bigot fired.

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 18, 2011 11:01:11 AM


  19. I am a professor at a University and sit on employment committees. We would never 'vet' a prospective teacher about their sexual opinions(lawsuits!). However, after hiring, we do have the capability of deciding whether or not to retain the person. A teacher who would drive students out of their classrooms by verbally attacking them wouldn't stay very long. If they did...it is quite obvious that a majority of fellow professors share the same view point.

    Posted by: chuck | Oct 18, 2011 11:34:07 AM


  20. Dr. Ashamalla

    Posted by: anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 1:38:10 PM


  21. The professors name is Dr. Ashamalla.

    Posted by: IUPalum | Oct 18, 2011 1:46:51 PM


  22. @ CB...Seriously...get a grip.
    She "knows" the word ask...she used the word ask.
    She "pronounced" it not according to standard "English" surely with all your education you would have "snarked" her in a more appropriate manner.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Oct 18, 2011 2:42:30 PM


  23. I just tweeted this story to the school newspaper. (@idsnews) They should be able to get to the bottom of this.

    Posted by: MIleHighJoe | Oct 18, 2011 3:56:37 PM


  24. Well, there's a shocker: She's of Egyptian descent.

    Posted by: Your Mom | Oct 18, 2011 4:01:41 PM


  25. Here she is:

    http://pesiup.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103%3Amaali-h-ashamalla&catid=48%3Afaculty-profiles&ml=4&mlt=ja_topaz&tmpl=component&Itemid=76

    Posted by: chasmader | Oct 18, 2011 6:31:04 PM


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