Colorado Professors Discourage Dissent on Climate Change
In an online course at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, the professors indicated that they will not allow debate over the premise that man-made climate change is occurring. The class, called “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age,” is taught by three professors. The message said:
The point of departure for this course is based on the scientific premise that human induced climate change is valid and occurring. We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course.
Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course. … If you believe this premise to be an issue for you, we respectfully ask that you do not take this course, as there are options within the Humanities program for face to face this semester and online next.
The email was apparently sent after several students reached out to the professors with concern over their eventual grades. This was following the first day of class, which featured the impacts of climate change. Somewhat shockingly, the email states that this ban also extends to discussion among students in the online forums. Further, the professors note that students who choose to use outside sources for research are only permitted to select those which have been peer-reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
As noted by The College Fix, the syllabus also indicates that the course will explore the “health effects of fracking.” The pertinent readings include “4 States Struggling to Maintain Radioactive Fracking Waste,” “EPA Study on Fracking Ignored Contamination Studies,” and “Frack Free Colorado: ‘Colorado’s Affected People.'”
The University of Colorado system (including Colorado Springs) is a publicly-funded group of schools. Therefore, it is required to abide by the First Amendment of the Constitution, permitting the freedom of speech. Merely granting to students the right to “take another class” is no substitute for robust discussion. The professors are doing a disservice to all of those in their class by shielding opposing opinions. It is likely that these voices may be scant to begin with. However, ostracizing and extraditing dissenters is no way to encourage a healthy academic environment.
There are a wide range of opinions to be had on climate change. While it is likely that human beings have some impact on the environment, the amount is debatable. No matter what, hearing differing beliefs, no matter how seemingly outrageous, is necessary in a free society.
Watch one skeptical take on climate change: