Three professors co-teaching an online course titled “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age” at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS), a public university, informed students via e-mail man-made climate change and the harmful effects of fracking are not open for debate and said those who think otherwise should drop the course.
The e-mail said, “The point of departure for this course is … [the] premise that human induced climate change is … occurring. We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be … discussed in this course.
“If you believe [humans are causing dangerous climate change] to be an issue for you, we respectfully ask that you do not take this course,” said the professors.
The professors also banned discussion between students about man’s role in global climate change in online classroom forums. Additionally, students using outside sources for research for the course may only use materials peer-reviewed by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which sayshumans are the primary cause of climate change.
The course also examines the “health effects of fracking,” solely using materials that promote fracking’s purported negative impacts. The course fails to examine the benefits of fracking.
In response to a growing uproar among parents, John Carson, a member of the University of Colorado System’s Board of Regents, told The Washington Times, “We should be encouraging debate and dialogue at the university, not discouraging or forbidding it. Students deserve more respect than this. They come to the university to be educated, not indoctrinated.”
Amy Oliver Cooke, executive vice president of the Independence Institute, says it is disturbing a public university funded by taxpayer dollars would suppress free speech.
“It’s deeply disturbing that at a taxpayer-funded university three narrow-minded professors have the authority to prohibit young adults from exercising their First Amendment rights,” said Cooke. “Equally troubling is the intentional practice to deny UCCS students the benefits that come from rigorous debate, challenges to conventional wisdom, and critical thinking.
“Imagine if the eco-Left’s modern-day operating system of ‘settled science’ had been in place in the 16th Century. We’d still be teaching the Sun revolves around the Earth,” Cooke said. “Eventually, the stifling of debate may drive the best and brightest students to other institutions that offer a more welcoming environment for thoughtful dialogue, instead of forced acceptance of controversial theories.”
“Regardless of what your view is on climate change, the topic should certainly be open for debate, especially at a public university supported by taxpayer money,” said Michael Fields, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Colorado. “This is part of a broader campaign by the left to not only shut down open debate, but also to enact policies that support their big-government ideology.”
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.