Law professor says sympathy for American troops is not ‘rational’

Mike Krumboltz
November 15, 2011

Never write an email that you wouldn't be OK with the whole world reading. A professor from Suffolk University Law School in Boston is experiencing why it is important to remember that rule of thumb.

Michael Avery composed a five-paragraph message to his colleagues in response to a campus-wide drive for care packages for American troops stationed overseas. In his email, Avery wrote that it is "shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings." Avery specializes in constitutional law.

Avery's email also included at least one other controversial remark: Sympathy for American troops, he wrote, is "not particularly rational in today's world."

Fox News spoke with Paul Spera, a past commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Spera called Avery's comments "shameful" and "despicable." Spera argued that the men and women who receive such care packages are fighting "for the freedom that this man (Avery) is abusing."

Barry Brown, the president and provost of Suffolk University, addressed the controversy on the school's website.  He wrote that while Suffolk University "has a long and proud history of supporting our me and women who have served their country in the armed forces," the University also respects "the right of our faculty members to exercise academic freedom and support all members of our community in speaking freely and expressing their opinions."

Camille Nelson, the dean of the Suffolk Law School, echoed that sentiment. "While I personally intend to donate a care package for our troops," Nelson wrote, "I respect the right of others to hold a differing perspective. Essential to a university environment is respect for, and protection of, free speech, academic freedom, and faculty governance."