U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Robert Roughsedge, above, cut ties with Suffolk University in response to fellow law professor Michael Avery's e-mail declaring it "shameful" to send care packages to American soldiers.Lawson & Weitzen LLP/MyFoxBoston.com
Roughsedge, who worked as an adjunct professor at Suffolk University, has been serving in Afghanistan since last December. He is expected to return home next month.
A law professor who is serving overseas in Afghanistan has quit his job at a Massachusetts university after a colleague sent out a controversial e-mail declaring it "shameful" to send care packages to U.S. troops.
U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Robert Roughsedge cut ties with Suffolk University in Boston in response to fellow law professor Michael Avery's defamatory e-mail regarding troops fighting overseas, Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reports.
Avery criticized a school-wide drive to collect supplies for soldiers overseas, writing in an email to colleagues: "I think 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, who specializes in constitutional law, also wrote that sympathy for American troops in harm's way is "not particularly rational in today's world."
In response to Avery's email, Roughsedge submitted his letter of resignation on Monday, telling WTXF in a telephone interview that the e-mail is "hate speech."
"It’s basically like a 5-year-old throwing a temper tantrum," he told the station. "That is not how we teach our students to rationally look at the issues…We want rational adult discourse and that is not something I would tolerate in my class and it is not something the school should tolerate from one of its professors."
Roughsedge was a member of the adjunct faculty at Suffolk University for eight years and taught a popular course on terrorism and the law. He left for Afghanistan in Dec. 2010 and is expected to return home to New Hampshire next month.
The university has since been inundated with complaints from students and alumni, claiming Avery's view is not representative of the school community.
Suffolk University president and provost Barry Brown issued a statement last week saying the school supported the "free exchange of ideas and robust debate" and respected the "right of our faculty members to exercise academic freedom."
But, Brown said, "As a diverse community, no one opinion or perspective is representative of the views of the whole community."
The school also said it has a proud history of supporting servicemen and women and that the care package drive is receiving a lot of support.