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Ames Tribune Not Interested in News

The Ames Tribune editorial today tries to make out that Discovery Institute is more interested in headlines than in truth. Ironic, coming from a news organization that hasn't even reported all of the news on this story. The piece sounds like it was ghost-written by the press office at ISU (or at least is based on ISU's talking points).

The news at the press conference this week was that a hostile work environment was created at ISU for Dr. Gonzalez -- and then covered up by his colleagues, his department, the university, and now the Board of Regents. This thing stinks from top to bottom.

That's a big story. They tried to cover up what amounts to a crime -- viewpoint discrimination in a personnel and hiring issue. Dr. Gonzalez's academic freedom was trampled, and now the news media in Iowa are largely ignoring it, along with the cover up. Instead they raise red herrings like the grant issue, which is old news.

The Ames editorial board can't even seem to be consistent in the same editorial. Trying to justify an egregious example of persecution, they report that Dr. Gonzalez didn't raise enough grant money, yet they acknowledge the Discovery Institute gave him $50,000 for research. Don't know about you, but for a non-profit with a tiny staff, that is not chump change.

Then they go on to smugly advise:

Maybe if the Discovery Institute would have given Gonzalez the dollars it's now spending before the tenure decision was made, he'd still have a job.
We did, you pinheads! Don't you read your own editorials -- while you're writing them, even?

This isn't about money or about job performance. It's about the fact that Dr. Gonzalez holds a minority view that his colleagues don't like, and so they bounced him out of the department with complete disregard for his academic freedom and the processes in place at the university.

As for whether ISU really grants tenure based on fundraising rather than scholarship and teaching, the fact remains that the stated tenure and promotion policies of Dr. Gonzalez's own department never mention grant money. In addition, ISU bestowed tenure on many professors this year who raised less grant money than Dr. Gonzalez, according to information supplied by ISU.

It is revealing that even an outside scientific reviewer--a professional hand-picked by the university to review Dr. Gonzalez's tenure application--observed that ISU's Department of Physics and Astronomy does not consider grants as a criterion for gaining tenure, and stated that "Dr. Gonzalez is eminently qualified for the promotion according to your guidelines of excellence in scholarship and exhibiting a potential for national distinction. In light of your criteria I would certainly recommend the promotion." (emphasis mine)

The internal e-mail traffic generated by Dr. Gonzalez's colleagues provides further evidence about the real agenda behind the expulsion of Dr. Gonzalez. In those e-mails, Gonzalez's colleagues were not obsessed with his funding (or lack thereof), they were obsessed with his views about intelligent design.

The clear majority of outside reviewers ISU sought recommendations from agreed that Dr. Gonzalez should receive tenure. The University ignored them and instead opted to make this an ideological issue. Money had nothing to do with it.