Nicholas Drapela, PhD was fired after teaching chemistry at Oregon State University for 10 years. He has published textbooks, received a promotion becoming Senior Instructor, and won an award for being an "outstanding and inspirational teacher."
As reported by Fox News, "On RateMyProfessor.com, Drapela received mostly positive ratings by OSU students. In 133 ratings, he rated 4.3 out of 5 in overall quality on the site. In a challenging subject like chemistry, such a high rating is unusual." Typically, one would think that well-liked professors who win awards and promotions would be praised and not fired, but not in this case.
Drapela was "blindsided" when he was told by the department chair that his services were no longer required. "He read a prepared statement and took my key," he said. The Chair of the Chemistry department did not give Prof. Drapela a reason for his termination. Understandably confused, the professor started asking people at the university if they knew anything. He was bounced around from person to person and finally was able to secure an interview with Human Resources, which cancelled the meeting an hour before it was scheduled.
Was Nicholas Drapela, PhD Fired for His Skepticism?
The speculation at the university among students and staff is that Drapela was fired for his views on man-made global warming. Notably, Dr. Gordon Fulks, a physicist and critic of man-made global warming, has supported Drapela.
On his blog, Fulks criticizes the university:
Transgressors who dare to be different are eventually weeded out so that the campus maintains its ideological purity.
What could possibly have provoked the OSU administration to take precipitous action against one of their academics who has been on their staff for ten years, just bought a house in Corvallis, and has four young children (one with severe medical problems)? Dr. Drapela is an outspoken critic of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, the official religion of the State of Oregon, the Oregon Democratic Party, and Governor John Kitzhaber.
Was it Drapela's intelligence? One recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that man-made climate change skeptics scored higher in tests asking about general science than their believing counterparts.
A local news story interviewed Vice President of University Relations Steve Clark, who denied that Dr. Drapela was fired for his stand on man-made global warming, but would not comment on the actual reason for his termination.
Watch the interview here:
It would be understandable, of course, if the professor was doing a poor job or if he could not fill up his classes, but despite his man-made global warming scepticism, by all accounts he was a good professor. His personal views certainly should not be grounds for his termination, particularly since many professors have extremely radical perspectives.
Sometimes it seems that the more radical, the better! Ward Churchill (who regard the Islamic terrorists as freedom fighters), Hamid Algar (called for armed jihad against the West), and convicted terrorist Susan Rosenberg (an Mumia Abu Jamal supporter), are all professors or have been at some point. The list goes on and on.
This is not a new phenomenon, as professors have been marginalized for their views and squeezed out of the conversation (and their careers) before. A brilliant documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, by Ben Stein exposes this ugly secret.
In the movie, Stein cites case after case of professors being demonized by their peers, simply for questioning evolution as the starting point of life. Many professors found themselves in situations that forced them to be quiet about their actual beliefs or suffer the consequences.
Watch the trailer here: