Because of objections raised by professors, a Christian student runs the possibility of having his license to practice psychology revoked.
After several instructors voiced worry over a recent psychology graduate’s speech at his graduation defending the family and the sanctity of life, the university in Mexico has begun processes against him that could result in the revocation of his license to practice.
ADF International, a human rights organization, said on Friday that the Autonomous University of Baja California had begun formal steps to suspend the student, Christian Cortez Pérez, from practicing psychology in response to allegations made against him.
Pérez graduated first in his class from the university’s School of Medicine and Psychology on June 27. In his commencement address, he spoke about the importance of family and the sanctity of life, among other things, and how he felt strongly about these issues despite the current state of the world.
Even when some of the students and teachers raised their voices and left the room, he finished his speech.
The professors subsequently released a “manifesto” in which they called his statement “hate speech,” urged that his academic degree and professional license be revoked, his merit award be revoked, and psychology groups across Mexico be alerted regarding his activities.
Pérez was quoted saying, “I exercised my fundamental right to free speech to speak my classmates on what I believe are the most serious challenges of our time.”
“Now I risk losing my entire career because I spoke out against the beliefs of some of my students and faculty.”
According to ADF International, which is providing legal representation for Pérez, the university is likely to issue a verdict later this month. Pérez has filed a counterclaim in response to the proceedings against him to safeguard his rights interests.
According to Pérez’s graduating address, “Today we are deep into a true anthropological war to redefine the human being, the human person, man through the implementation of ideologies and trends of thinking that always end up destroying dignity and freedom.”
He then made reference to G.K. Chesterton, an English author and lay theologian.
To attack life and the family is to self-destruct, it is an attack on civilization itself, Pérez argued, echoing Chesterton’s famous quote: “People do not know what they are doing; because they do not know what they are undoing.” Pérez then urged his contemporaries to live in solidarity with one another, saying, “You have to love; no one seeks the good of the other if he does not love him.”
Attorney for ADF International in Latin America Kristina Hjelkrem said that Pérez “faces irreparable reputational damage and a ban on his professional practice, threatening all that he has worked for in his career” for doing nothing more than exercising his basic human rights and expressing views shared by many.
Hjelkrem further noted that if the attempt to punish Christian was successful, it would send a message that anyone who speaks out in public in Mexico is in danger.
This is evocative of dictatorships, not democracies, and is a flagrant breach of international human rights law.
Pérez has stated his intention to “get justice not just for me, but for all Mexicans interested in preserving the freedom to freely express themselves.”
According to ADF International, educators all around the world are facing “censorship campaigns, often backed by legal procedures,” which pose a significant risk to their professional standing and reputation.