Kansas Prof Physically Attacked
ldarbyesq at knology.net
Wed Dec 7 16:43:28 PST 2005
KU professor steps down as head of Religious Studies
BY DAVID KLEPPER
The Kansas City Star
Embattled religious studies professor Paul Mirecki has stepped down as
chairman of the University of Kansas' Department of Religious Studies.
Mirecki remains a tenured professor at the department. No successor has
In a written statement, Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences, said she accepted Mirecki's resignation
"Professor Mirecki said he thought it appropriate to step down and did
so on the recommendation of his colleagues in the department, and I have
accepted his resignation," Romzek said. "This allows the department to
focus on what's most important -- teaching, research and service -- and
to minimize the distractions of the last couple of weeks."
Mirecki came under fire after e-mails were uncovered in which he mocked
aspects of Christianity. He initially attracted attention when he
announced he would teach a class this spring about intelligent design
and creationism as myth. That sparked immediate criticism from
conservatives who supported the Kansas Board of Education's recent move
to insert criticism of evolution into state science standards.
Mirecki's critics then discovered e-mails from a listserv operated by
the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics in which Mirecki
mocked various aspects of Catholicism and fundamentalist Christianity.
Last week, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said he found the e-mails
"repugnant and vile." Mirecki apologized for the e-mails and the course
On Monday, Mirecki told Douglas County Sheriff's Deputies he was
attacked by two men early that morning. Mirecki told police the two men
were closely following his vehicle south of Lawrence, and when he got
out to confront them, they beat him and made reference to the recent
controversy. Mirecki was treated and released from Lawrence Memorial
Mirecki has taught at KU for 15 years. He has a doctorate in theology
from Harvard University and specializes in ancient Mediterranean
cultures, religions and languages.
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Ed Brayton
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 12:21 PM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Kansas Prof Physically Attacked
Volokh, Eugene wrote:
> Thanks very much, but this update seems quite mysterious -- does
>anyone know *why* the attack is now not labeled a hate crime? Is it
>because the police didn't believe that the attack was motivated by his
>decision to teach the anti-ID class?
I can't speak for the police and what they are thinking, but at least
one person that I know in Kansas who is close to the situation has
serious doubts about the story and thinks that there's a possibility it
will turn out not to be entirely true as reported. I don't want to go
out on a limb and say I think that's likely, nor do I want to engage in
character assassination of Mr. Mirecki should it turn out that the
entire story is true, but I can tell you that there does appear to be
good reason to be skeptical based on what I've been told. And that is
coming from someone who is strongly pro-evolution and anti-ID, and who
really hopes that the doubts are unfounded. We have taken enough of a
black eye because of Mirecki in the last couple weeks; the last thing we
need is a Tawana Brawley situation on our hands.
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