Professor Placed on Leave After Inappropriate Comments

Professor Placed on Leave After Inappropriate Comments

( – An Assistant Professor from Old Dominion University in Virginia faces intense backlash after a controversial interview with the Prostasia Foundation. Dr. Allyn Walker spoke at length about her past research into pedophilia during the hotly-debated exchange. The school responded by placing her on leave, but some people feel she shouldn’t be allowed back at all.

The Controversial Topic

So what caused all the criticism? Dr. Walker, who teaches sociology and criminal justice at ODU, recently wrote a book titled “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.” The non-fiction piece focuses entirely on Walker’s past research into the subject.

The professor’s book talks about individuals who are attracted to minors. Walker refers to them as “Minor-Attracted Persons” (MAPs) rather than pedophiles.

The book alone is enough to have many people concerned. Yet, Walker also made a number of troubling comments during her most recent interview.

The professor first talked about morality. Walker feels it isn’t right to judge or morally weigh one’s attraction, citing the common claim that one can’t choose who they find attractive. She says morality is based on actions instead. If an individual opts to ignore their attractions, refraining from engaging in abuse, they’ve committed little more than a thought crime and don’t deserve to be judged for it.

MAPs and how attraction works

An advocacy group called “B4-UACT” first coined the acronym MAPs in an alleged attempt to encourage more affected people to step forward and ask for help before harming children. In simpler terms, they are people who are attracted to other individuals below the legal age of sexual consent.

Walker argues that there is a difference between pedophiles and MAPs. However, other advocacy groups and researchers feel the acronym does include pedophiles.

Assistant Professor Walker insists that the inability to choose who you are attracted to means these “MAPs” should not be judged for their feelings. Yet, psychology paints a much different picture.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), for example, considers having an attraction to children a pathological mental health condition called Pedophilic Disorder. This fact seems to render Walker’s argument fundamentally incorrect. Thus, medically speaking, MAPs are at least mentally ill.

A Harvard study also disagrees with Walker’s position. It suggests attraction boils down to levels of dopamine, a natural “feel good” hormone released by the brain in response to positive or rewarding experiences.

The brain responds to both attraction and addiction by flooding receptors with this happy chemical, which can become addictive over time. The brain creates reward pathways that quite literally lead people to seek out activities, substances, or even attractive people just to get the next “hit.”

This explanation might seem complicated, but there’s really one crucial takeaway. Science suggests attraction is a learned behavior that develops or worsens over time, meaning it is affected by the actions an individual takes.

Walker’s critics are concerned mainly by the fact that someone in a teaching environment — college or not — holds such an open and accepting view of pedophiles or “minor-attracted persons.” ODU clearly agrees as they’ve already placed her on leave. But the college also feels Walker’s research disrupts the learning process and renders students unsafe. Others think she should never be allowed to teach again.

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