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ECU chemistry students allowed to mention God during ceremony

Posted May 6, 2014

— The provost at East Carolina University has told chemistry students to disregard instructions from a professor who forbade them from mentioning God during a departmental recognition ceremony Friday.

Eli Hvastkovs, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, sent an email to students Thursday with a list of four guidelines for the recognition ceremony that included keeping their statements short, family friendly and “not gross.” Topping the list was an instruction not to thank God.

“I’m sorry about this – and I don’t want to have to outline the reasons why,” Hvastkovs wrote in the email.

The statement prompted a quick response from Marilyn Sheerer, the school’s provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, who sent an email the next day to chemistry majors telling them to disregard the prohibition.

“Religious references of any type will not be restricted,” she wrote. “I regret that, without approval from the appropriate University officials, any other limitations were communicated to you.”


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  • free2bme May 6, 2014

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    Read the constitution and get some understanding. As long as what is being said is not vulgar or causing harm, these students have the right to free speech. I may not agree with atheist, Muslins, or Buddhists but if one of the students wanted to thank or pay homage to their supreme being during their speech, they should have the right to do so. I think you have the USA confused with a communist or dictatorship nation. This is one nation "under God." l

  • Justin Case May 6, 2014
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    Yep, last time I checked, my constitutional rights to religion and free speech trumps anybody's perceived 'free speech' right to not listen to my free speech. Kudos to the ECU provost!

  • David Collins May 6, 2014
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    You should be able to thank anyone including GOD! That assistant professor has no right ask the graduates to refrain from thanking God.

  • anti-Hans May 6, 2014

    God is NOT DEAD! Go see the movie, sounds very similar.

    As a Christian, and a conservative, this might come as a shocker to some, but I believe a Muslim does have the right to thank Allah and I would not do anything to suppress that. I believe an athiest has a right to their beliefs, and I would not do anything to prohibit them from their free beliefs.

    People (usually the left) are asking for equal rights - I agree. We all should have equal rights to believe or not believe on a God or gods, Killing, maiming, harming etc in the name of any God, Allah etc is wrong and falls under other laws. But suppressing faith should never be tolerated. Jesus said "even if you silence me these rocks will speak out on my behalf."

  • lasm May 6, 2014

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    And where do you suppose the state gets their funds?

  • lewiskr45 May 6, 2014

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    Public colleges and universities get most of their funding from the state.

  • Moist May 6, 2014

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    If he couldnt get in I doubt his ideas would be welcomed.

  • Justin Bridges May 6, 2014
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    "School is not the place to promote your religion." - DASMANIAC

    Why not? Do they not pay tuition to be there? This isn't like elementary or high school where they are going at the taxpayers expense. The first amendment prohibits any laws, rules or regulations that inhibit the free practice of religion. You can and should practice your religion anyplace and everyplace that you want to.

  • Blinded by Science May 6, 2014

    I once read about a professor/teacher that refused to write a letters of recommendation for students that believed in creation. I believe he was a biology teacher/professor. He stated that he could not provide a recommendation to anyone that denied the science behind evolution because they were not good scientists. I wonder if this is similar? Does the ECU professor think that the graduates should be denied their science diplomas if they acknowledge God?

  • davidhartman May 6, 2014

    That this is a news item is tragic.

    How nice of ECU to 'allow' it.