Massachusetts Law Professor Calls Care Packages for U.S. Troops 'Shameful'
A Massachusetts law professor has created a campus firestorm with an email to colleagues that declares it would be "shameful" to send care packages to U.S. troops "who have gone overseas to kill other human beings."
Michael Avery, a professor at Suffolk University Law School, sent a five-paragraph email to colleagues in response to a school-wide appeal for care packages for deployed soldiers, Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reports.
"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 wrote.
The professor, who specializes in constitutional law, wrote the email last week in response to a university drive to collect items for U.S. troops, like sunblock and sanitary products. He also wrote that sympathy for American troops in harm's way is "not particularly rational in today's world."
Paul Spera, past commander in chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, blasted Avery's remarks on Monday, calling the professor's argument "despicable."
"The shameful thing is that he’s teaching our young people," Spera told FoxNews.com.
"One of the things that we've learned from Vietnam is to separate the warriors from the war. You can be opposed to the war -- you can disagree with the tactics and the political decision involved -- but the individuals on the battle field are there protecting us," said Spera, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam.
"Somebody has to stand up to this man," he said, noting that the recipients of such care packages are willing to "lay their lives on the line for the freedoms that this man is abusing."
The university has since been inundated with complaints from students and alumni, claiming Avery's view is not representative of the school community.
"I don't think that reflects the overall feelings of Suffolk Law in general," law student Marisa Roman told the station. "Clearly it's a patriotic school; we have a huge American flag up in the atrium."
Avery reportedly takes exception to the flag as well, claiming that its hanging is "not a politically neutral act."
"Excessive patriotic zeal is a hallmark of national security states. It permits, indeed encourages, excesses in the name of national security, as we saw during the Bush administration, and which continue during the Obama administration," he wrote.
Suffolk University president and provost Barry Brown issued a statement 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."
"While I personally intend to donate a care package for our troops, I respect the right of others to hold a differing perspective," added Camille Nelson, dean of the university's law school. "Suffolk Law, while valuing debate on U.S. military policy, has a well-deserved reputation for supporting armed services personnel in the pursuit of their J.D. degrees and career goals."
Avery declined to comment further on the matter when contacted Monday by FoxNews.com.
The care package drive, meanwhile, will continue despite his objection to it.
"There's individuals who really appreciate and need things we're sending," said student Kelly Bogua.
"I'm participating in it and I think a lot of people are regardless of the email. If anything, he really just discredited himself," she said.
FoxNews.com's Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.