Professor Tom Hilton sends anti-gay message to student

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire professor Tom Hilton seriously stepped outside of his role teaching "information systems" to deliver another kind of lecture -- the homophobic kind.

His target: Senior Women's Studies student Crystal Kazik, who was so jazzed about the debut of the Eau Queer Film Festival this year that she emailed faculty asking them to please hang a poster she attached. Thanks for your help! Smiley emoticon!

Hilton, to the emoticontrary, was feeling neither helpful nor inclined to keep his thoughts to himself.

"I urge you to reconsider your plan," he wrote back. "Homosexual behavior damages its participants, their loved ones, and the communities that sanction it."

He went on to say that gays are the "walking wounded" and that a queer film fest reinforces the idea that "their present injuries are the best they can hope for in life."

He signed it, lovingly, "Your friend, Dr. H."

Well, the university isn't feeling quite so cozy with Dr. H now that the e-mails have come to light, and are planning some kind of administrative reprimand. Hilton called the situation a "mess," but reiterated that he wanted Kazik to know that not everyone on campus agrees with her film festival.

Turns out Doc Hilton attended Brigham Young University and is a bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Eau Claire. (Context, any good academic will tell you, is always important.)

And despite his helpful proselytizing, the film festival went ahead as planned.

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