Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Biology Department will initiate a nation-wide search for a new tenure-track professor next Monday, according to department chair Amy Vollmer. In making the announcement, Vollmer explained “while our current faculty covers the full range of the discipline’s traditional subfields, we recently noticed that nobody is qualified to teach in the rapidly growing field of intelligent design. When a generous donor came forward with a gift to endow the position, we couldn’t refuse.”
Students in the department, however, were not pleased with the decision. According to John Apeman, “in establishing this position, Swarthmore is selling out to the religious right. No graduate school will accept me when my three preparations are micro, genetics, and ID.”
Vollmer even ran up against opposition among the department faculty. Colin Purrington, an official member of Darwin’s Posse
( http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/evolk12/posse/chazhasaposse.htm ), expressed contempt for the decision, and said that he had immediately begun looking for employment elsewhere.
However, Vollmer remains convinced in her decision and said that she has received support from the college’s administration. According to Provost Connie Hungerford, “this is all part of a longer process where we identify our priorities. Establishing Swarthmore as a leader in emerging fields like ID is crucial to our long term competitiveness.”
For those not familiar with intelligent design, Vollmer suggested visiting the Intelligent Design Network website at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/ . “I think you will find,” she said, “that they are after the same things any good scientist is after ‘objectivity in origins science'”.