Monday, February 02, 2009

The University of Vermont Does the Right Thing

My impression of the University of Vermont has just gone way up. According to WCAX News in Vermont, the University has decided that Ben Stein is not an appropriate commencement speaker [Stein Withdraws as UVM Speaker].
Burlington, Vermont - February 2, 2009

Ben Stein won't be bidding UVM graduates goodbye after all.

Just last week, the university announced that Stein, who is highly acclaimed as an actor, author, and economist, would be delivering this year's commencement address. But Monday, the school announced that he has now withdrawn as speaker.

Stein has made headlines recently for his views regarding Darwin's theory of evolution, intelligent design and the role of science in the Holocaust. Several people from the academic community-- both locally and beyond the UVM campus-- quickly expressed concern over his selection and once notified of that, Stein withdrew from the ceremony.

"This is not, to my mind, an issue about academic freedom or the openness of the campus to all points of view. Ben Stein spoke here last spring to great acclaim," UVM President Dan Fogel said. "It's an issue about the appropriateness of awarding an honorary degree to someone whose views in many ways ignore or affront the fundamental values of scientific inquiry and I greatly regret that I was not attuned to those issues."

Fogel said the school's honorary degree committee has a list of potential candidates and he will consult others before extending an invitation to another potential commencement speaker.
Good for President Fogel. He's right. It is not appropriate to award an honorary degree to "someone whose views in many ways ignore or affront the fundamental values of scientific inquiry."

I wonder if Dan Fogel realizes that he has just earned himself a prominent place in "Expelled II"?


  1. Look what happens when prominent atheists speak up. I wonder what Nisbett's response would have been...a rhetorical question, as we already know the answer.

  2. I bet you anything that the powers that be decided to have Ben Stein speak there without knowing who he was or what he stood for. Once they "got a clue", they saw the errors of their ways. Thanks, administrative incompetence!

  3. "Expelled II"? Seriously?

  4. Anon: It's no knock on officials at an institution of higher education to be unacquainted with the contents of 'Expelled.'

    Truth won out. So did the cause of education.

  5. Pres. Fogel should have just graciously accepted Ben Stein's withdrawal instead of publicly giving reasons why Stein does not deserve an honorary degree. By taking sides in the issue, Fogel gave Stein a propaganda victory and unnecessarily dragged the university into controversy.