Let's think about how they might affect three prominent atheists. Jerry Coyne is an evolutionary biology professor at the University of Chicago. He is a prominent atheist and he defends the position that science and religion are not compatible. He does not have to adhere to the Ball State University rules because the University of Chicago is a private school.
Daniel Dennett is a philosopher at Tufts University (private). He is a prominent atheist and no friend of religion.
Richard Dawkins was a professor and evolutionary biologist at Oxford University in the UK. He did not have to worry about following the Ball State University rules because they don't apply outside of the USA.
Let's imagine that all three became professors at Ball State University. They would have to pay attention to the rules outlined by President Jo Ann Gora. Here are the relevant passages from her recent message.
Creation science, intelligent design, and other worldviews that focus on speculation regarding the origins of life represent another important and relevant form of human inquiry that is appropriately studied in literature and social science courses. Such study, however, must include a diversity of worldviews representing a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives and must avoid privileging one view as more legitimate than others.All three professors have written extensively about religion and their views are widely known. They attend conferences and give public lectures. They do not pull any punches when they talk about the evils of religion. Nobody would ever say that they go out of their way to avoid endorsing one perspective over another. Academics have opinions and they are not afraid to express them.
As a public university, we have a constitutional obligation to maintain a clear separation between church and state. It is imperative that even when religious ideas are appropriately taught in humanities and social science courses, they must be discussed in comparison to each other, with no endorsement of one perspective over another.
Most professors have graduate students. They do not hide their opinions from their graduate students. Nor do they hide them from their colleagues or the administrators in their university.
These professors aren't shy about expressing their points of view on blogs, twitter, Facebook, newspapers and just any other means of communication.
Now let's imagine that they are teaching an undergraduate course about atheism and religion in a humanities department at Ball State University. How is that supposed to work? Are they supposed to go out of their way to avoid "privileging one view as more legitimate than others"? And if so, are any of the students going to be fooled? They can all access the internet.
It's clearly a ridiculous rule unless it also applies outside of the classroom. Does it mean that professors at a public university must avoid criticizing religion at all times?