In the classroom that day, Averill says one young woman was talking about her belief in energy layers and astral beings.
“I jokingly asked her if she believed in leprechauns. It turns out, she does. They live on another energy layer,” Averill wrote in notes to himself later that day. “In the interest of bringing my own view to the discussion, I began to ask her how she knew these things. Again I know all too well that people can be sensitive about their spiritual beliefs, so I was pretty much walking on glass as I did so.”
Averill says he wasn’t trying to disprove the other student’s religious beliefs, but “to convince her not to insist that they were scientifically proven.”
The student, apparently offended, complained to the teacher. Averill was called into a meeting that evening, he says, with the Art Institute’s dean of education, associate dean, and the dean of student affairs.
According to Averill, he was told the meeting was “because of my altercation with [the other student].” Averill says he pointed out that he’d “only offered a different viewpoint in a discussion that [my classmate] had started.”
“They didn’t respond well,” Averill told the Mercury. “Their mantra was ‘no discussing religion in school,’ which is fine except that I did not initiate the conversation, she had.” Averill was suspended for four days, until a judicial hearing with the dean of student affairs.
The end result: Averill has been expelled. We mustn’t offend people who believe in leprechauns, after all.
The authorities have muddled the issue by saying he was kicked out for being “rude and belligerent”, although the report does say that the woman who complained backed up Averill’s story, and she has said that she didn’t want him expelled. Too late, but the sentiment is nice…for a leprechaunist.
That’s right. This is a case of discrimination against an aleprechaunist. I’m proud to say that I too am an aleprechaunist, and I stand in solidarity with Bob Averill. It’s about time we took a stand against this leprechaunistic foolishness—they demand an undeserved respect, they have no evidence at all for their crazy beliefs, and now they’re using their clout in the culture of leprechaunism that pervades our society to oppress rationalists for simply questioning their superstition.
I’m sure some of my fellow sciencebloggers will consider this dangerous and vile, and out of a desire to placate the leprechaunist lobby, will dissociate themselves from me for it, but I have to say it: leprechaunism is bullshit. There is something wrong with you if you believe in leprechauns, and we sure shouldn’t be letting people run colleges on the basis of their belief in the little people, or worse yet, making policy decisions to keep the leprechaunists happy. And maybe it’s about time our schools did make time to criticize leprechaunism.
I’m an evangelical, fundamentalist, militant aleprechaunist. Get used to it, we aren’t going away.
(I sincerely hope that the ACLU helps Bob Averill out—being expelled from a college for arguing and for disbelieving in energy layers, astral beings, and woo-woo spiritual bafflegab is out of line.)