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Ball State University

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Ball State University is a residential university in Muncie, Indiana that was originally founded as a teacher's college in 1918, and became a university in 1965.[1] It has about 21,000 students each year.[2]

Contents

Controversies

George Wolfe

In 2004, Ball State was the centre of a controversy over the activities of one of its professors, George Wolfe. Wolfe, a professor of the saxaphone, was hired by the music department, but also taught the university's Peace Studies and Conflict program, using as a textbook, Peace and Conflict Studies by Barash and Webel.[3]

Critics described the book as "a one-sided primer in radical ideology, whose treatment of history is unscholarly and tendentious". Wolfe also ran a "Peace Workers group", and, according to one of Wolfe's students, required the students to be involved as part of their class grades. The student described PeaceWorkers—which Wolfe's group supported—as part of a coalition that includes the Muslim Students Assocation and the Young Communist League.[3]

The Students for Academic Freedom wrote to the president of Ball State, Jo Ann M. Gora, complaining about Wolfe's program and imposition of his views on students. They received a reply from the university's provost, Beverly Pitts, saying that they had investigated the matter by speaking to Wolfe and his supervisor and reviewing statements from other students in the class, and found that all was in order. The student who made the original complaint was, apparently, not interviewed.[3]

Eric Hedin

In 2013, atheist Gerry Coyne convinced the Freedom from Religion Foundation to complain to Gora about a course run by Eric Hedin, a physics professor at the university. The complaint was that Hedin included in one of his courses some pro-Intelligent Design textbooks, and that he promoted Intelligent Design (ID).

In response, the university said that they would investigate the matter thoroughly, and proceeded to set up a review panel stacked with critics of Intelligent Design.[4]

The outcome was that the university declared ID to be unscientific, said that it could not be discussed in science courses (while claiming that they continued to support academic freedom, a principle that is designed to protect dissenting views), banned any teacher from endorsing ID, falsely claimed that ID is religious, and banned faculty members from "endorsing one point of view over others".[5]

This prompted the Discovery Institute to complain that the university was not applying that ruling consistently, as they had other courses where atheism was promoted and religious views and ID were denigrated.[6]

References

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