University of Southern Maine graduate students walked out of class this month and are demanding officials replace their professor over remarks she made they say were transphobic. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

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The article in the Oct. 1-2 edition of the BDN about students at the University of Southern Maine demanding their professor be replaced over gender remarks was extremely disturbing. First, in my opinion, the students are wrong and the professor is right. Second, I think the students obviously ignore academic freedom and have totalitarian tendencies.

For millennia, it’s been understood that only two biological sexes exist. The story says: “Biologists believe there is a larger spectrum to sex than just the male-female binary.” Could these be the same biologists who determined that bumblebees can’t fly?

Even if there is a “larger spectrum,” that doesn’t require more than two sexes. If something exists, it generally has a name and defining characteristics, which facilitate discussion. Since these new sexes apparently have no names or definitions, what are they? How can they exist?

The professor should get a bonus and medal for standing up for truth and academic freedom. The students should reconsider their career choices. If their only response to contrary opinions is to try to destroy the speaker, what will they do if someday one of their students disagrees with them? Will expulsion suffice or will they demand Orwellian re-education camps? 

Lawrence E. Merrill