Q&A: Student leader speaks out over Old Dominion professor defending pedophilia
Allyn Walker was put on administrative leave since Campus Reform first reported on the scholar's defense of pedophilia.
Campus Reform spoke with the president of ODU's College Republicans on the school's response after the story broke.
Allyn Walker, a ODU assistant professor faced scrutiny after encouraging the term “Minor Attracted Person” to be used in place of pedophilia.
Campus Reform reported on this story as it developed.
Allyn Walker, an assistant professor at Old Dominion University, was put on administrative leave Tuesday after defending pedophilia in an interview by trying to normalize adults’ attraction to minors.
The incident occurred during an interview with Prostasia about Walker’s book A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.
An on-campus protest took place the same day as Walker’s dismissal, as reported by Mace and Crown, the university’s student publication. Students banded together to cover campus in chalked messages and signs condemning Walker’s statements and advocating for his termination. Phrases included “MAPS = Pedophiles”, “Call Them Pedophiles”, and “Fire Dr. Walker”.
The Twitter account “Libs of Tik Tok” posted a video of the incident.
Live from Old Dominion University pic.twitter.com/3VEeUOLi5K
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) November 16, 2021
Campus Reform spoke with Andrew Lambakis, President of the Old Dominion College Republicans, on the incident and its impact on campus.
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
ALEXA SCHWERHA: What's your group's stance on the incident?
ANDREW LAMBAKIS: We believe that it's disgraceful to the victims of child abuse, to victims of pedophilia, how Professor Walker's trying to use the term minor attracted persons when in fact he should be using the term pedophiles to describe them. It's just giving legitimacy and analyzing pedophilia. So we are strongly opposed to his stance on it. And we would like to see him fired, as a matter of fact. Academic leave, which he is on right now, is not enough. We want Allyn Walker fired, permanently terminated from the school.
AS: So what would you say is the main issue at hand with this incident? And how big do you think this is in terms of the community?
AL: Well, you can see that he's legitimizing pedophilia by saying that we should use the term minor attracted persons. We should be very careful in re-wording, like, the English language, if you would, because we don't want to make it seem like it's okay to be attracted to minors. So that's what a lot of people think it implies. I think so. We ought to be using the term pedophile.
AS: And after the story broke, what did you see the university immediately do? Did they release any statements?
AL: They released a statement basically talking about how he's free to speak his mind, how [in] a university setting, you have academic freedom to study this type of stuff. But most students agree that it's unacceptable at the university. We wanted to see further action taken against him, which they put them on academic leave but I believe he's still getting paid, which is not enough. The statement from the school initially was terrible. You didn't really address the issue at hand.
AS: Aside from just being fired, is there any other actions that you'd recommend the university take?
AL: To make sure that we purge the university this type of sentiment, takings toward pedophilia. I believe there's another person at the university who's a co-author of the book. She has not gotten that much media attention. I don't even know who she is. But I can see people who are harboring these views fired from the school because they have no place in the university setting. They don't really have a place in America at all.
AS: So among the students, has there been a strong reaction opposing this?
AL: Yes. You can look at the social media pages like ODU class of 2025. Students are appalled by it. ODU Barstool if you would, that's what it's called on Instagram, they're opposed by it. You can just check the comment section of the ODU social media. Students are outraged by it. At school, I believe there was a protest yesterday. That's what I was told, I wasn't at school yesterday, so I can't say for sure. But I was told that there was a protest. That makes me happy to see.
AS: As College Republicans, is there anything that you guys are planning to do?
AL: We're actually planning a protest after Thanksgiving break, because then lots more people will be on campus. We want a peaceful protest. There's actually a campus rock that we can paint anything on. So we are considering writing “fire Alan Walker” on it. We can see if we get other student organizations who would like to join us and do that.
AS: How would you say that this is an incident of the culture on campus?
AL: To say that, like, there's a pervasive culture on campus saying the pedophilia is okay, it is a reflection of the type of things that you are allowed to discuss on campus. In what normal world would be calling someone a minor attracted person be allowed? Why don't you use the term pedophilia? Why are we allowing for these ideas to be spread around campus? It doesn't really make much sense to me.
AS: Do you think this is a testament to the culture of college campuses in 2021?
AL: I do believe so. It's kind of like a reflection of how bad it's gotten to where you can openly discuss pedophilia in a sense, in a way, and I don't think Allyn Walker should be speaking of pedophilia in a way where it seems normal for him to speak about it in that manner. We've come to the point where this type of speech is allowed on college campuses.
AS: So what can college conservatives, or really any other students, do to make their voices heard on campus?
AL: We need to speak our minds. When Glenn Youngkin was running for Governor of Virginia, the College Republicans took it upon themselves to write Younkin 2021 on the campus rock. When other people see their opinions are being passed by other conservatives on campus, they might feel more safe to speak their mind. If someone's wearing a Make America Great Again hat or a Youngkin hat, like, 'Oh, it might be safe for me to wear that hat or that shirt on campus too' and boost their morale. And make them like, “Oh, there's more people like me out there. I don't feel like I'm going to get harassed for it”. We need to make it seem like our voices are heard on campus by simple things like that.