I am informed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) that the five-professor panel empowered to investigate Professor Eric Hedin’s proselytizing for Christianity and intelligent design creationism in one of his physics classes has finished its investigation. After the FFRF sent a letter to every member of the panel detailing the case about Hedin (including student complaints), the FFRF was informed by a Ball State University (BSU) spokesperson that the panel had already finished its deliberations:
(email addresses redacted; Ryan Dwyer is a legal intern at FFRF):
From: “Caty Pilachowski”
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:52pm
To: “‘Ryan Dwyer'”
Cc: “‘Fluegeman, Richard'” “‘Todd, Joan'”
Subject: RE: Information on Professor Hedin’s class
Dear Mr. Dwyer – Thank you for your message. The Review Panel concluded its work when we submitted our report to the Provost at Ball State, and I am unable to comment further on the content or recommendations of the report, since our deliberations and the report itself are confidential. Joan Todd at Ball State is the appropriate conduit for further correspondence on the matter
Best wishes –
Andrew Seidel, the crack FFRF lawyer handling this case, then wrote to Joan Todd asking for more information; here’s the letter:
Although BSU maintains that the panel’s deliberations and decision are confidential, as well as the student evaluations of Professor Hedin (which are anonymous, of course), this is not certain. I suspect that the FFRF will try to pry these things out of Ball State using public records laws like the Freedom of Information Act.
I hope that the panel’s recommendation will be vetted by higher authorities such as the provost and president of BSU, and that then we’ll finally learn what the University is going to do about Hedin’s course. It would look pretty bad for them if they kept the entire decision secret.
If I had to guess, I’d say that BSU will take Hedin’s “Boundaries of Science” course out of the lineup of courses for which students can get science credit, and somehow move it to religion or philosophy. But even then it would be unsatisfactory, for it presents a one-sided view of the universe as a product of God’s design, and still violates the First Amendment by foisting a Christian view on the students.