One of the most common comments I get from people:
I dont understand why youre going to school in Oklahoma. Srsly. Oklahoma? Why didnt you got to UCSF or Harvard or something? Oklahoma??
Well, there are lots of reasons why I like it here. This is one of those reasons:
In response, OU President David Boren said recently that colleges and universities should be a free marketplace of ideas, and it is inappropriate for legislators to attempt to restrict speech on campuses.
Richard Broughton, an OU zoology professor and president of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, said the resolution claimed to support a free exchange of ideas on campuses, but actually aimed to restrict freedom of speech.
From an email we all received earlier this year:
This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of his publication of The Origin of Species. Faculty of the University of Oklahoma developed a special series of events and distinguished lectures for this anniversary year, and the program is known as Darwin 2009. Below is a link to the web site that details this program and all the events throughout the year.
One of the major events is a talk being given by Richard Dawkins. The requests for tickets has been so overwhelming that the organizing committee has moved the event to a larger venue and made it first come first served (tickets are free). A flyer about the Dawkins lecture is attached if you are interested.
James J. Tomasek
Dean, Graduate College
Yes, Oklahoma has a lot of crazies. But the University of Oklahoma has a great president. My college has a great dean. My department has a great chair. And my professors are great too.
Contrast this to statements from OK legislators, who previously screamed for ‘Academic Freedom’:
Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, filed a lengthy open records request with the university, asking for any correspondence regarding Dawkins’ speech, information on any costs to OU, a list of any money Dawkins received and who provided the funds, and any other “pertinent financial information.”
Dawkins waived his speaking fees for the event, a university spokeswoman said. Hamilton could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.
State Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, filed a resolution this session opposing Dawkins’ invitation to speak at OU and the university’s actions “to indoctrinate students in the theory of evolution.”… “His presence at OU was not about science,” he said. “It was to promote an atheistic agenda, and that was very clear.”
Remember, folks– All this wailing and gnashing of teeth by religious radicals in OK happened before Dawkins said one word. This was/is about stopping Dawkins from speaking, and punishing anyone associated with his presence in Oklahoma.
Such a difference between those who stand for academic freedom, and those who just use ‘academic freedom’ as a dog whistle.