Last week, Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote that he had received multiple unconfirmed reports that the Oklahoma legislature was investigating the appearance of Richard Dawkins at the University of Oklahoma. Those reports are now confirmed:
Sure enough, I just received confirmation today in a letter from the Open Records Office at the University of Oklahoma. The letter confirms that on the day of Dawkins’ speech, Oklahoma State Representative Rebecca Hamilton requested substantial information relating to the speech from Vice President for Governmental Relations Danny Hilliard. Representative Hamilton’s exhaustive request included demands for all e-mails and correspondence relating to the speech; a list of all money paid to Dawkins and the entities, public or private, responsible for this funding; and the total cost to the university, including, among other things, security fees, advertising, and even “faculty time spent promoting this event.”
Rick Farmer, the director of committee staff for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, also wrote the University on March 12, requesting confirmation that Dawkins had indeed waived all compensation for the speech.
His response is spot on:
Now that we know this investigation is going on, many questions still need to be answered: What does the state legislature plan to do with this information? Does this mean that any time Richard Dawkins or other evolutionary scientists give speeches about evolution in Oklahoma, they too will be investigated? And perhaps most importantly: Doesn’t the Oklahoma legislature have anything better to do?
I think I know the answer to the last question, but I think it’s time the Oklahoma Legislature answered the first two.