Phil Robertson Honored at Alma Mater; Faculty Walk Out

Sarah Jean Seman

5/27/2014 6:13:00 PM - Sarah Jean Seman

Three faculty members walked out of the Louisiana Tech University commencement ceremony Saturday to show their disdain for alumnus Phil Robertson.

Students in the Louisiana Tech's LGBTQ organization, Prism, sparked the idea via social media.

Students, faculty, and people across the state posted Facebook statuses and tweeted at Louisiana Tech using the hashtag #NoHonorInBigotry to send a message to the university.

Hannah Ellsworth, President of Prism, said, “We wanted to make a statement displaying our disapproval of the honoring, and for several reasons, including the minimal time we were given to react, a social media campaign was the best way to do this. Faculty, staff, and students didn’t have any time to give input since no one [knew] until the day before.”

The Alumni Association and its members, not the university, selected the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Louisiana Tech noted in an official statement. In alignment with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the school expressed its support of Free Speech:

The right to express and debate differences in opinions, ideologies, and values is at the core of a university community, and Louisiana Tech certainly supports its faculty in this exercise of free expression. It's important to note that the annual Tower Medallion recipient is selected by the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association and it's member representatives, and not the university. It recognizes those alumni who have achieved in their professions while remaining loyal to their university.

On the bright side, let's be thankful Louisiana Tech didn't follow the lead of Rutgers University or Smith College and rescind the award entirely.