Ken Ham Causes Controversy on Campus
In this July 5, 2015, file photo, Ken Ham, president and CEO of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and Ark Encounter, speaks during a news conference in Williamstown, Ky. University of Central Oklahoma student body President Stockton Duvall said Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, the school cancelled a planned speech by Ham. (AP Photo/John Minchillo File)
Editor’s Note: This is part one in a three-part series on the controversy associated with Ken Ham’s cancelled invitation to speak at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Despite initial claims from the fundamentalist Christian organization Answers in Genesis that the University of Central Oklahoma “had reneged on a contract it had signed” that allowed its president Ken Ham to give a talk on campus, the university revealed this week that no such contract had been signed.
While AiG had produced a document on letterhead and claimed it was a contractual agreement between itself and the university, UCO President Don Betz said that the document in question was a letter of intent that was only one part of the process to establish a contractual agreement.
“It was part of the formal request system, which eventually results in a contract for sure, but we never had an executed contract signed by Mr. Ham and by an authorized representative of the institution who could, in fact, sign contracts,” Betz said.
The UCO Student Association had extended an invitation to Ham to speak on creationism as part of its UCOSA-sponsored speaker series for the 2017-2018 academic year. The event, which would have been hosted in partnership with the Christian apologetics student organization Valid Worldview, was scheduled for March 5.
They rescinded their offer earlier this month after concerns were raised by UCO’s Women’s Research Center and BGLTQ+ Student Center on Ham’s fundamentalist Christian stances on women, the LGBTQ community and scientific research.
While the Center asserted they had brought their concerns to UCOSA to open dialogue on Ham’s engagement, UCOSA President Stockton Duvall claimed that the Center had attempted to “bully” him into cancelling the event during a meeting between himself and 12 Center representatives.
“I want to be very clear on this, there have been members of our campus who have tried to bully me in my decision. While none of these examples have involved members of the administration, there is definitely something that must be done to address this issue. I am not the first person to be personally attacked by a very vocal group on campus that has little tolerance for opposing views,” Duvall said in his official statement.