Students in Poland were left “shaken” following police interrogations related to a complaint the students had made against their professor for teaching anti-LGBT+ lessons.
According to the Center for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Behaviours, the students were being interviewed at a police station near the University of Silesia in Katowice, south Poland and were left shaken and crying after hours of interrogation by the police.
The Center said the students were not informed for what reason they were being interrogated. “All they know is that this has something to do with a complaint that students submitted to the university authorities against Dr Ewa Budzyńska,” the Facebook post read.
The Center is providing legal support to the students after what they described as “intimidation, not standard law enforcement activities.”
The students’ official complaint claimed that Dr Budzyńska, who is an associate sociology professor at the University of Silesia, had said a “normal family” always consists of one man and one woman” and that gender studies, including accepting transgender identities, is a “Communist ideology”.
The complaint said that the lectures promoted “anti-choice ideology, homophobic views, anti-Semitism, denominational discrimination, information incompatible with modern scientific knowledge and promotion of radical Catholic views”.
The students claimed the associate professor “shapes attitudes based on false information incompatible with current scientific knowledge”.
The students had first flagged the behaviour in March 2019 and on January 8, 2020, the students filed an official complaint after which the university responded by proposing to reprimand the professor.
However, Dr Budzyńska resigned in protest once proceedings were initiated by the university. Ordo Iuris, a conservative Christian legal organization, is now representing the professor.
Lawyers from Ordo Iuris were also present at the police interrogation of the students who had filed the complaint.
In a Facebook update, the Center for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Behaviors claimed that “Ordo Iuris simply wants to intimidate students so that everyone else will be afraid to file a similar complaint.”
In defence of Budzyńska, the deputy Prime Minister of Poland Jarosław Gowin posted on Twitter, vowing to “present a bill to protect freedom of speech and research at Polish universities… We will not allow extremely ideologised environments to censor”.
The incident comes in a new wave of homophobia in Poland, just one month after Polish legislators debated a “Stop Pedophilia” bill which linked LGBT+ people to paedophiles and proposed to make sex education a crime publishable by prison time.
The bill was neither passed nor rejected by Poland’s parliament. It was instead sent back to the committee for “further work” according to the Human Rights Watch.
Earlier in the year, a third of Poland declared itself “LGBT-Free” in a petition signed by local municipalities denouncing “LGBT propaganda”.
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