This UCCS Class On Climate Change Science Isn’t The Place For Debate

September 2, 2016

Three Colorado Springs professors at UCCS are getting national attention from conservative websites for telling students in an email there would be no debate over the science of human-caused climate change in an online course. 

A few students complained when they were told if they wanted that debate,  they could choose a different course. 

KKTV published the contents of the email, part of which reads:

"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. This includes discussion among students in the discussion forums. Opening up a debate that 98 percent of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course."

An expert on academic freedom -- Cary Nelson of the University of Illinois -- says professors must be open to criticism, but in most cases, they have the right to set the parameters of the course.

"That’s part of your job as a faculty member is to help students see what counts in scientific evidence and what doesn’t," he said. "Obviously on climate change, there’s beaucoup stuff out there that ain’t what you’d call science."

University officials say they've received about a dozen calls about the course, but most students seemed satisfied after hearing that faculty have offered to discuss it with students who have concerns.

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