UConn Professor Defends Rant Caught on YouTube

A University of Connecticut professor who is under fire after a YouTube video surfaced showing him confronting a religious group on campus on Tuesday is standing by his actions.

A video on YouTube shows anthropology professor James Boster yelling at an evangelical group and screaming profanities.  He said there is more to the story and that the group was criticizing students’ ethnicity and sexuality, so he stepped in to defend them.

“When they attacked the student, I went out to confront them,” Boster said.  “It was my moral duty to become outraged.”

Boster said the group were preaching that “evolution is a lie.”

But, he told NBC Connecticut he wasn't provoked by their message.  

The video shows Professor Boster leading students on a chant, saying: “Praise Darwin, Praise Darwin!” He said he wasn’t trying to sway their beliefs, but it was his version of street theater.

“I was trying to engage them as cast members in the drama that I was creating,” Boster said.

Religious activists are responding.

“I have a problem with the professor proselytizing the students for a particular spiritual philosophy,” Peter Wolfgang, of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said.

Earlier this year, UConn Assistant Football Coach Ernest Jones resigned after the dean publicly criticized him for saying,Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddles” 

“UConn came down on him like the wrath of God,” Wolfgang said.

Now some people are questioning why UConn isn’t holding Professor Boster to the same standard.

“Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses. At the same time, we expect our faculty to act in a way that promotes civil discourse and to express themselves respectfully. The use of abusive language and the confrontational posture seen here are inconsistent with UConn’s values,” a statement the university says.

“Yes, I’m in deep trouble. … The Dean has summoned me into his office,” Boster said.  

He also told NBC Connecticut, his behavior was justified.

“Shame on you for condemning someone to hell that they don't even know,” he added.

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