Over the past few months, it seems select individuals have become upset over issues related to allegations that religion is being brought into the science classroom at Ball State University. As the Ball State student body president, I do not speak on behalf of my organization or my school. But I am a student. And, believe it or not, our opinions matter, too.
I could say that I know many students who took Professor Eric Hedin’s classes and loved them. I could say that every student comment I’ve heard has been in support for Professor Hedin. I could even say that we’re old enough to decide what we want to believe when controversial topics are brought up fairly in the classroom. And while all these things are true, they don’t address the issue.
The university setting has historically been fertile ground for ideas. Many major American research universities were actually religiously-based. But it was their open minds and embrace (instead of fear) for outside perspectives that have allowed effective research to occur — and minds to change. (Don’t make me use the “flat earth”example.)
A good university administration understands that in order for education to be effective, there must be tolerance for ideas outside our own. That’s why our Honors College offers unique classes on such topics as the Holocaust, Islam, and (ironically) Controversial Issues in Education.
Thank goodness our school isn’t as narrow-minded as Dr. Jerry Coyne.
— Malachi W. Randolph
Editor’s note: Dr. Coyne is a biology professor at the University of Chicago.