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.

    A graduate of Colorado State University, Caleb is a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and host of the award nominated YouTube series The Caleb Bonham Show.

    More By Caleb Bonham

    LATEST TWEETS

    Kerri
    @Kerri_Kupec - 41 min ago

    Great exclusive by @K_Schallhorn. Ohio State core class teaches Christians are dumber than atheists http://t.co/0PKhtmuLVh via @campusreform

    Pat Raby
    @19Paddy - 42 min ago

    @campusreform @kctimpf They can't possibly be that stupid, can they?

    Red White True
    @RedWhite_True - 1 hour ago

    @campusreform: UC - Berkeley brings in 500 goats to be ‘eco-friendly lawn mowers’: http://t.co/QXdRPyYHNp by @kctimpf

    Jamie Wamsley
    @Jamiewamsley - 1 hour ago

    Great article. / Ohio State core class teaches Christians are dumber than atheists http://t.co/8GeNtq6jEU via @campusreform

    Dan Kleinman
    @SafeLibraries - 2 hours ago

    @campusreform: UC - Berkeley brings in 500 goats to be ‘eco-friendly lawn mowers’: http://t.co/sGIIz0Rxal by @kctimpf#highered

    Emily Larsen
    @0emilylyly - 3 hours ago

    Absolutely ridiculous. Ohio State core class teaches Christians are dumber than atheists http://t.co/Wh0wfClo8R via @campusreform

    CampusReform.org
    @campusreform - 3 hours ago

    UC - Berkeley brings in 500 goats to be ‘eco-friendly lawn mowers’: http://t.co/Xu2KN2Ja3D by @kctimpf

    Latest 30 Articles