Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gonzalez's Tenure Appeal Denied

Iowa State University's President Gregory Geoffroy informed Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, who was seeking tenure and a promotion in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, on Friday, June 1, 2007 that his appeal for tenure had been denied.

Gonzalez had been denied tenure despite having a very-impressive list of achievements. It didn't matter that Gonzalez had discovered two new planets and is currently building technology to discover extra-solar planets. It didn't matter that Gonzalez had written Observational Astronomy, a college-level textbook published by Cambridge University Press and used in Iowa State University classes. It didn't matter that Iowa State requires about 15 published peer-reviewed articles for their professors to receive tenure and that Gonzalez had published nearly 70 such peer-reviewed articles published. None of the other achievements or qualifications of Gonzalez made any difference to the tenure review committee at ISU.

The only thing that mattered to ISU was that Gonzalez accepted intelligent design theory. This became evident when 120 ISU professors signed a letter criticizing intelligent design as not scientific, when various professor in Gonzalez’s department were linked to a powerful anti-intelligent design organization (the National Center for Science Education), and finally, when Dr. John Hauptman (who is the the same departed as Gonzalez at ISU) published an op-ed in the Des Moines Register claiming that Gonzalez was rightly denied tenure because he didn’t understand what was and wasn’t science.

What Iowa State University did here was eliminate a brilliant scientist because of his view on a very controversial issue. They—a public university funded by taxpayer money—participated in what the U.S. Supreme Court has referred to as “viewpoint discrimination. As a fellow member of the BIG XII Conference (Baylor University), I am thoroughly disappointed with Iowa State.

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