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Ball State Course On Intelligent Design Sparks Controversy

Shafer Tower on the Ball State University campus.

Four Indiana lawmakers recently sent a letter to the president of Ball State University questioning her decision to prohibit the teaching of intelligent design as a scientific theory in BSU science courses.

Last summer, a science course taught by Ball State Professor Eric Hedin came under fire after complaints from students about the inclusion of intelligent design on the syllabus.

The course was cancelled, and President Jo Ann Gora wrote a letter to Ball State faculty and staff stating that, quote “this is an issue of academic integrity, not academic freedom.”

The letter sent this month by Sen. Dennis Kruse, Sen. Travis Holdman, Sen. Greg Walker, and Rep. Jeff Thompson, stated that they were concerned about whether the university followed proper procedures while investigating Hedin’s course.

The letter goes on to say the lawmakers were concerned about a BSU-authorized seminar that taught material titled “Science Must Destroy Religion.”

Ball State spokesperson Tony Proudfoot says this isn’t the case.

“This is not a seminar that teaches ‘science must destroy religion,'” Proudfoot said. “That phrase is simply the title of one four page essay among 109 others, from 100 authors in a book.”

In a statement, Senator Kruse wrote that the situation raises a lot of questions because Ball State is a state school.

“I took it upon myself,” Kruse said, “as chairman of the Senate Education Committee to seek more information.”

Hedin is still teaching at the university. Proudfoot declined to comment on the details of last summer’s investigation of his course, saying it was a personnel matter.

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