It’s been more than two weeks since we wrote about the situation at Indiana’s Ball State University. As you recall, the Discovery Institute had issued an ultimatum which gave the university until 30 September to comply with the Discoveroids’ demands, or “the Institute warns it will be forced to seek other remedies.” We wrote about that here: Discoveroids Issue Ultimatum to Ball State.
Then we wrote Discoveroids Increase Pressure on Ball State. While the time limit in their ultimatum was running out, the Discoveroids initiated a letter-writing campaign to demand “academic freedom” for faculty who wanted to teach creationism.
Well, the dreaded date of 30 September has come and gone. What has happened to Ball State? Have they capitulated to the Discoveroids’ demands? If not, has their campus been consumed in a pillar of fire? Have they suffered the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah? We’ve been frantically searching for news, and at last we found something.
In The Daily, a student newspaper at Ball State University, we read Ball State to review honors courses. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
All honors courses will be reviewed for appropriateness of teaching style, teachers’ qualifications and course materials, said a university spokesperson. Joan Todd, executive director of public relations, said the reviews will occur before the semester the course is taught, and courses for Spring Semester 2014 are already under review. Four faculty subcommittees will conduct the reviews in distinct areas: social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and colloquia.
Is this academic administrative trivia related to the Discoveroids’ ultimatum? Apparently so. The story informs us:
The Discovery Institute, an intelligent design organization, sent a letter to Ball State officials in mid-September asking for a review of four classes, and the university will be looking at the four in addition to next semester’s courses. The institute’s criticisms were based on how the university responded to bias allegations against assistant astronomy professor Eric Hedin. The institute defended Hedin based on Ball State’s academic freedom code.
It had been alleged that Hedin was teaching creationism, so of course the Discoveroids’ defended him. We wrote about that and everything leading up to the ultimatum here: Battle of Ball State: Setting the Stage. Let’s keep reading from The Daily:
The institute said the class HON 390, “Dangerous Ideas,” by English associate professor Paul Ranieri promoted anti-theistic ideas through the main text of the class, “What is your Dangerous Idea?”
Yes, we know all that. Is there anything else? No, not really. So what did we learn? We’re distressed to say this, but Ball State seems to be complying with the ultimatum. The Discoveroids had demanded a review of the “Dangerous Ideas” class, and it’s being reviewed. They also demanded answers to nine questions. We don’t know if Ball State has answered those, or if they did, whether their answers were satisfactory.
It’s possible that Ball State is merely going through the motions, and their review of those courses will have no results. If that’s what’s happening, will it be enough to satisfy the Discoveroids, or will they brush the superficial reviews aside and follow through on their threat to “seek other remedies”?
The Discoveroids haven’t said anything about these latest developments. Has Ball State saved itself from what we feared would be a disaster of biblical proportions? We won’t know until we hear from the Discoveroids. Stay tuned to this blog.
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