- (Photo: American Enterprise Institute)
Charles Murray, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, posted "An open letter to the students of Azusa Pacific University" Tuesday after he received word from the Christian school's president that his Wednesday speech at the school was postponed until the fall semester.
APU President Jon R. Wallace said the event had to be rescheduled because the school needed more time to schedule the event. Murray, on the other hand, suggested the move happened because some faculty and students did not want Murray on campus.
Some reports are comparing APU's move to the recent incident at Brandeis University. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, also a scholar at AEI, had her honorary degree and speech at Brandeis canceled after some faculty complained about her anti-Islam views.
In a statement provided to The Christian Post and referenced by Murray, Wallace said, "Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray's scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday's conversation."
Murray, however, said he spoke with an unnamed faculty member who told him that Wallace and the APU provost were afraid of "hurting our faculty and students of color."
Murray was only given 48 hours notice that the event would be rescheduled. His letter states the event had been planned for "months." An APU spokesperson told The Christian Post the event was scheduled in mid-March.
In his "open letter," Murray encouraged APU students to explore his views themselves rather than rely upon the word of his critics.
"You're at college, right? Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves, right? Okay, then do it. Don't be satisfied with links to websites that specialize in libeling people. Lose the secondary sources. Explore for yourself the 'full range' of my scholarship and find out what it is that I've written or said that would hurt your faculty or students of color," he wrote.
He also asked them to decide whether they believe he would be disrespectful to any faculty or students of color.
"Go to YouTube and search 'Charles Murray.' You will get links to dozens of lectures, panel discussions, and television interviews. You can watch Q&A sessions in which I field questions from students like you, including extremely hostile ones. Watch even for a few minutes. Ask yourself if I insult them or lash out," he wrote.
Murray has been accused of harboring racist sentiments since his 1996 book with Richard J. Herrnstein, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. That book explores the relationship between intelligence and socioeconomic status. The controversial part of the book looks at IQ differences and race.
Murray addressed the criticism last month in an AEI blog post. In that post he points out that the book explores the issue but takes no position on the relationship between race and genes.
"Our sin was to openly discuss the issue, not to advocate a position. But for the last 40 years, that's been sin enough," he wrote.
In his statement about the postponement of the event, Wallace said APU values debate and the presentation of a variety of viewpoints.
"We want to host robust discussions," he wrote. "We have a long history of being in the middle of conversations that matter, but those take time and careful planning. As we value open discourse and varying viewpoints, we do so not merely for freedom's sake, but for Jesus' sake. Our approach to all topics must be in light of a biblical worldview. In doing so, we strive to model civic virtue for our campus community and encourage spiritual unity in Christ. We look forward to an opportunity to gather around the table for thoughtful and meaningful dialogue with Dr. Murray in the 2014-15 academic year."
Murray's most recent book is The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life, which has advice to college graduates on a wide range of topics. The Christian Post recently interviewed Murray about that book.