Professor bans students from thanking God in graduation statements

Caleb Bonham
Editor-in-chief

Total Shares
This is the CRO SBAR

  • Prof told Campus Reform that too many students thanked religious figures during last year’s event.
  • A professor at a public university in North Carolina forbade his students from thanking God in personal statements that will be delivered during their departmental graduation ceremony on Friday.

    In an email obtained by Campus Reform, Assistant Professor Eli Hvastkovs, who teaches chemistry at East Carolina University (ECU), instructed his students to prepare a “family friendly” 35­ word personal statement that mentions future plans or “thanks someone.” The students, however, were explicitly forbidden from thanking God.

    "You can't thank God. I'm sorry about this – and I don't want to have to outline the reasons why.” - Professor Eli Hvastkovs   

    “I've had some submissions that needed to be edited. so [sic] here are some guidelines,” the email reads. “1. You can't thank God. I'm sorry about this – and I don't want to have to outline the reasons why.”

    In an interview with Campus Reform late last week, Professor Hvastkovs defended the restrictions and confirmed he sent the email banning giving thanks to God after too many students recognized religious figures during last year’s event.

    “It's not a religious ceremony,” Hvastkovs told Campus Reform, “it's purely educational.”

    Hvastkovs also acknowledged the ban was not a school policy.

    “It's more of a departmental thing, we have a diverse student body,” he said.

    When asked if the university allows students to thank God upon graduation, ECU Executive Director of Communication Mary Schulken told Campus Reform that “the First Amendment allows them to thank God, to thank any force or any individual that they so desire.”

    After Hvastkovs’s interview with Campus Reform, Provost Marilyn Sheerer released an email advising students disregard Hvastkovs’s guidelines.

    Sheerer's response told students that “[r]eligious references of any type will not be restricted,” and the “[u]niversity will only limit these expressions, as permitted by applicable First Amendment law.”

    Send tips of bias and abuse to Contact@CampusReform.org and follow the author of this article on Twitter: @CalebBonham

    Caleb Bonham

    Caleb Bonham

    Editor-in-chief

    Caleb Bonham is the Editor-in-chief of Campus Reform.

    Named a "30 Under 30," Caleb is a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and host of the award nominated YouTube series, The Caleb Bonham Show. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Associated Press, MSNBC and TheBlaze.

    More By Caleb Bonham

    LATEST TWEETS

    cookboy
    @andrewsiff - 2 hours ago

    Civil society, actually. They're just tools of the left. @kateobenshain @gabriellahope_ @campusreform

    Dawn Of Destruction?
    @kooka64 - 2 hours ago

    @kateobenshain @campusreform Do liberals educators ever give good advice or only hateful blame upon others?

    Kate Obenshain
    @kateobenshain - 2 hours ago

    I've come to believe modern feminists are trying to sabotage young women. Great article, @gabriellahope_ ! @campusreform

    Kate Obenshain
    @kateobenshain - 2 hours ago

    Sigh. "Feminists rage over suggestion that alcohol education can help curb sexual assault" http://t.co/t5sTt4hfmv via @campusreform

    Antonio Divine
    @antoniodivine - 3 hours ago

    @pauljimerson @gede_prama @campusreform Humans love to create idols so later they can destroy them. Unfortunately every one has an opinion.

    Anne Elizabeth
    @Anneeliz1 - 4 hours ago

    @justthoughts19 @campusreform Don't drink and drive-accident apologist. Don't leave your wallet unattended-theft apologist.

    Islandgirl
    @justthoughts19 - 4 hours ago

    Feminists rage over suggestion that alcohol education can help curb sexual assault http://t.co/pBmIUWr8n3 via @campusreform

    Shirley Baldwin
    @nutjob - 6 hours ago

    Feminists rage over suggestion that alcohol ed http://t.co/qRrrSZMMUL" target="blank_">http://t.co/qRrrSZMMUL via @campusreform http://t.co/qRrrSZMMUL

    Latest 30 Articles