FREDONIA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A State University of New York at Fredonia philosophy professor embroiled in controversy has been reassigned after a video of him talking about adults having sex with children went viral Tuesday evening.

SUNY Fredonia confirmed the video came from a podcast. In the video, professor Stephen Kershnar discussed the morality of sex between adults and children.

In an update on Thursday, it was announced Kershnar was reassigned to duties that do not “include his physical presence on campus,” and he will not have contact with students while the investigation is ongoing. Fredonia President Stephen H. Kolison Jr. called the comments “absolutely abhorrent.”

A SUNY Fredonia website biography for the philosophy professor states, “Kershnar has written one hundred articles and book chapters on such diverse topics as abortion, adult-child sex, hell, most valuable player, pornography, punishment, sexual fantasies, slavery, and torture.”

On a podcast in December 2020, Kershnar questioned whether pedophilia is physically or emotionally harmful. He has also questioned statutory rape laws.

Here’s the full statement from President Stephen H. Kolison, Jr.:

Dear Fredonia community:

I am writing to provide you with an update on the matter involving one of our professors interviewed in a widely shared video podcast. We will continue to investigate this situation. In the meantime, effective immediately and until further notice the professor is being assigned to duties that do not include his physical presence on campus and will not have contact with students while the investigation is ongoing.

Please allow me to reiterate my earlier statement that I view the content of the video as absolutely abhorrent. I cannot stress strongly enough that the independent viewpoints of this individual professor are in no way representative of the values of the SUNY Fredonia campus.

I appreciate your patience as we make every effort to resolve this matter as expeditiously as possible.

Sincerely,
Stephen H. Kolison, Jr. Ph.D.
President and Professor

News 4 was on campus Wednesday and spoke with students who expressed their disgust with the professor’s statements.

“I think the video honestly is one of the most disgusting things I’ve seen here on campus and anyone who says or does the things like that should not be in a position of power,” said Robert Kryger, a SUNY Fredonia freshman.

“Fredonia has called him a distinguished professor, he’s gotten hundreds of awards and I just don’t understand how they let somebody rise to such a high level of respect when he’s degraded women in situations like this,” added Hayley Mercer, a SUNY Fredonia freshman.

A petition on change.org has garnered more than 10,000 signatures calling for Kershnar to be fired.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.