Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Paul Mirecki responds to critics

Religion professor issues apology about e-mail | LJWorld.com:
“I accept full responsibility for an ill-advised e-mail I sent to a small group of students and friends that has unintentionally impugned the integrity and good name of both the university and my faculty colleagues. My words were offensive, and I apologize to all for that.

“I especially regret that the e-mail betrays what I have consistently practiced in the classroom during my sixteen-year teaching career at KU: I believe that civil discourse is vital to a democratic society, and we must, especially in a university environment, be able to discuss differing points of view in a open, fair and civil fashion. I have always practiced my belief that there is no place for impertinence and name-calling in a serious academic class. My words in the e-mail do not represent my teaching philosophy or the style I use in class.

“I have assured the provost of the university that I will teach the course according to the standards this university rightfully expects — as a serious academic subject and in a manner that respects all points of view.”
That last paragraph is the only one that matters. The email was irrelevant, what matters is how the course is taught.

In other news, three legislators are making a fuss.

State Sen. Karin Brownlee:

“The KU administration — it is their job to hold their faculty responsible, and then it is the job of the Legislature to hold the administrators accountable,” she said.
Rep. Brenda "Landwehr said if the course was deemed appropriate, someone else should teach it."

Rep. Melvin Neufeld:

"I can’t intimidate anyone. They can be intimidated, but that’s their choice."
He also "said KU should withdraw the graduate-level course."

Sounds intimidating, but maybe I'm just intimidating myself, huh?

Update: A lot of people are linking here, which is excellent. The story continues with Dr. Mirecki withdrawing the class, the revelation that one of Dr. Mirecki's most vocal critics called the atheist group on campus "crypto-Nazis" and a hate group, an attack on Dr. Mirecki by a couple of thugs, and with conservative commentators blaming the victim.