School Accused of Denying Professor Tenure Over Intelligent Design Beliefs

A collaboration of Intelligent Design (ID)supporters has accused Iowa State University (ISU) of denying tenure to one of its professors despite his surpassing of benchmark requirements that would "ordinarily" demonstrate "excellence sufficient to lead to a national or international reputation."

The Discovery Institute has voiced frustration over the refusal because it believes the school rejected the application of Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, author of The Privileged Planet, due to his promotion of ID thought. The organization is accusing ISU of being biased and extremist against ID "theory."

"The denial of tenure to Dr. Gonzalez is a blatant violation of both academic freedom and free speech," said Dr. John G. West, associate director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture, in a statement. "The denial of tenure is all the more incredible given the fact that Dr. Gonzalez exceeds by 350 percent the number of peer-reviewed journal publications required by his department to meet its standard of excellence in research."

Last week, Gonzalez filed an appeal with ISU President Greg Geoffroy, and is still awaiting a response. The president has 20 days to respond, and has refused to comment on the reason why his tenure was denied.

"Since an appeal is on my desk that I will have to pass judgment on, it is not appropriate for me to offer any comment," explained Geoffroy to the Ames Tribune.

ISU is one of many schools that have previously drafted statements against the use of ID in science. In 2005, one of Gonzalez's colleagues, Hector Avalos, had even expressed his concern with the ID professor teaching at ISU because the college had started to get the reputation as being an "intelligent design school," according to the Ames Tribune.

The Discovery Institute is strongly disagreeing with the school's outlook on Gonzalez, however. It has noted that his advocacy of ID has been done outside his work as a professor, and that he does not teach ID in class.

The organization says that it is not fair that he is targeted for his beliefs while overlooking his credentials.

"The basic freedom of scientists, teachers, and students to do scientific research and question the Darwinian hegemony is coming under attack by people that can only be called Darwinian fundamentalists," added West. "Intelligent design scientists are losing their jobs, and their professional careers are being torpedoed by these extremists."

Currently, the department of astronomy and physics that Gonzalez works for requires "excellence sufficient to lead to a national or international reputation." according to the department's guidelines. This excellence, the guidelines add, "would ordinarily be shown by the publication of approximately fifteen papers of good quality in refereed journals."

Gonzalez has already written 68 peer-reviewed journals, and 25 of those have been written while teaching at OSU, where he has been since 2001.

"I was surprised to hear that my tenure was denied at any level, but I was disappointed that the president at the end denied me," explained Gonzales, who is also a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, to the Ames Tribune. "I believe that I fully met the requirements for tenure."

Other achievements for the ID proponent include authorizing a college-level astronomy textbook published by Cambridge University, helping in the discovery of two new planets, and building technology that helped discover extrasolar planets.

Gonzales was one of three faculty members that were denied tenure or promotion by ISU out of the 66 total professors that applied.

Generally, those individuals that are denied tenure leave the university.

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