Sissy Bradford, a criminology adjunct lecturer at Texas A&M University-San Antonio who objected to decorative crosses on a tower at the university’s entrance, says she was harassed for her views, and fears for her safety. Also – she will not be asked back to teach next fall, reports the San Antonio Express-News.
Bradford, who is Jewish, says she has been receiving hate messages, including death threats, in letters, email and Facebook posts.
Marilu Reyna, a spokeswoman for the university, said Sissy Bradford was one of some 20 adjunct staff members who won’t be teaching next fall because “changing needs.”
Last October, Bradford objected to the display of crosses on the “Torre de Esperanza,” or Tower of Hope, which bears an A&M University-San Antonio emblem. The tower was built with city money but on private land.
Bradford and a few students said the crosses were an inappropriate promotion of Christianity at a public university. The crosses were removed in November.
The messages started pouring in. One letter read: “As a professor, do you have a right to live? … The day you die, a cross is going to be inside your coffin and a cross on your tomb to let you know who is KING.”
Another letter said: “Just so you know how disgusting I think you are!”
Bradford told the San Antonio Express-News that she had been told she’d teach two criminology classes on community perspectives and two others on social deviance. She has hired an attorney in preparation for a possible lawsuit.
But Spokeswoman Reyna said Bradford wasn’t singled out in the decision not to rehire adjunct faculty members. She said adjuncts are hired on a semester-by-semester basis.
Kirsten Verdi, who graduated with a psychology bachelor’s degree in December, told the San Antonio Express-News that she decided not to apply to graduate school there because of the mindset expressed by fellow students on Facebook and in comments on the student newspaper’s website.
“If they cannot provide a safe environment, an unbiased environment, a religion-neutral environment … I can take my money somewhere else,” Verdi said.