UI offers to rehire Catholicism prof, ends funding from Newman Center

UI offers to rehire Catholicism prof, ends funding from Newman Center

Kenneth Howell has been offered his job back teaching Catholicism, but from now on the University of Illinois will pay his salary, the UI said Thursday.
He has until Aug. 6 to respond.

And the university will dissolve its relationship with the local Newman Center, which for decades has been paying instructors to teach Catholicism under the UI's religion studies department.

This fall, the Urbana campus will pay Howell $10,000 a semester to teach Catholic thought.

His status continues to be that of an adjunct professor, hired on a year-to-year basis, said Robin Kaler, the chief spokeswoman for the Urbana campus.

Howell could not be reached immediately for comment.

He was told in May that he would not be returning in the fall. A student had complained in an e-mail to campus officials that Howell had written an e-mail about natural law and homosexuality.

Kaler declined to say whether the rehiring was related to publicity about Howell.

"The university values academic freedom. As the fall semester was fast approaching, the decision was made to contract with Professor Howell to teach Catholic studies, while the committee continues to look into the matter," she said.

The UI will pay the salary of instructors teaching any Catholic studies courses taught for university credit, rather than St. John's Catholic Newman Center as in the past.

A press release said "the university values its relationship with the Newman Center and plans to continue offering courses in Catholic studies."

The move comes with the recommendation this morning of the Faculty Senate's General University Policy committee. The committee called for dissolution of the arrangement whereby St. John's Catholic Newman Center funds instructors for credit-bearing UI courses in Catholic studies.

"This offer of appointment does not affect the process or outcome of a review by the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure," the release said.


Comments for this post are read only.

RedPhantome1 wrote on July 29, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I hope for Mr Kenneth Howell he takes this fiasco to a great attorney and shames the great illinooyen university system. This poor choice of asking good people to step down needs to stop. Our up and coming generation has obvisously mistaken values and social mores for the poor common sense choices they lack. The illinois school system seems as full of themselves as the "professors" who only care about themselves like they hold some political office and can get away with out doing the job they were hired to do and still cash their paycheck. Thanks america, now its up to no one!

jjreddick211 wrote on July 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

The professor should be paying the University to use the course as a platform for homophobic rhetoric.

beanyncecil wrote on July 30, 2010 at 5:07 am

A person who enrolls in a Catholic Studies class knows that s/he is going to hear the Catholic opinion of issues--one of which is that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle. This is well-known. Therefore, a gay or lesbian who enrolls in the class and who then complains about the dialogue, enrolled only to try to start trouble. I am not a Catholic but it could not be more obvious to me that the agenda of many gays/lesbians is to try to force everyone to validate their lifestyle. This is not going to happen. You cannot legislate such things. If, by some outrageous legislation, it became unlawful to condemn homosexuality, it still would not have changed anything. Even if they somehow managed to prevent people from vocalizing their condemnation, it would not have changed their true opinion. Homosexuality would still be as sinful; gays would still live with the overwhelming guilt about their sinful lifestyles; and they would still be seeking validation from Christians.

Muliebrity48 wrote on August 02, 2010 at 11:08 am

This huge pile of homophobic hatred is such a joke. Most gays and lesbians that I know have an agenda of living their lives apart from bigots like you who spread intolerance. Their to-do-lists consist of going to work, taking care of their children, and grocery shopping. And yes, some of them even take classes on Catholocism, but a class is different than a church service. There is a way to teach the beliefs of Catholics without advocating for those beliefs and without preaching. As for this overwhelming guilt you speak of, do you feel any for the multitude of out-dated Biblical rules I'm sure you break every day? You're deluding yourself if you think gays and lesbians are sitting around feeling badly about themselves because people like you don't accept them. They feel bad for you and your closed minded, hate filled life. Try to lighten up a little bit and just love your fellow man.