According to the Indianapolis Star,
Four legislators, including Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, chairman of the Education Committee, say “serious questions have been raised about whether academic freedom, free speech and religious liberty have been respected by BSU in its treatment of professor Hedin, its subsequent establishment of a speech code restricting faculty speech on intelligent design, and its cancellation of professor Hedin’s … class,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Gora.
For those with cloudy memories, the roots of this particular “inquiry” are described here.
Why, exactly, do Hoosier voters are continue to elect people who do not understand the difference between science and religion, the operation of the First Amendment’s religion clauses or the difference between Free Speech and government speech?
Let me spell this out—not that Senator Kruse or his theocratic cohorts will listen.
Academic freedom insulates the academy from the Senator’s own efforts to dictate the content of courses taught by the University. It does not protect a professor who is teaching discredited or inappropriate materials— I don’t have “academic freedom” to teach flower arranging in my Law and Policy classes; a historian does not have “academic freedom” to insist that the Holocaust didn’t occur; and a professor of science does not have “academic freedom” to substitute creationism for science.
Freedom of speech and religious liberty allow Senator Kruse to believe and promote any cockamamie thing he wants. It does not give him—and it most definitely does not give the legislature, which is government—the right to demand (overtly or covertly) that a public university give equal time in science class to an unscientific religious belief.
Can creationism be taught? Sure—in a class on comparative religion, or in a history of science class, or as part of a political science class’s exploration of the ongoing tension between religious orthodoxy and science.
Senator Kruse and his cohorts do raise a question that Hoosier voters should take seriously: When will the General Assembly stop spending so much time on religiously-motivated efforts to marginalize gays, keep women second-class and pregnant, control what Hoosiers drink and when, and teach religious dogma in our public schools? When will they start paying attention to the economy, the quality of life in our state, and the other genuine problems we elected them to address?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not holding my breath.