Roger Williams Students Forced to Watch Environmentalist Propaganda Film to Graduate · 21 May 2007

By Sara Dogan

Letter from the National Campus Director

May 21, 2007 


Dear Students and Supporters, 


Students at Roger Williams are incensed over a new requirement that students enrolled in a mandatory science course watch the Al Gore’s propaganda film An Inconvenient Truth. No additional perspectives on the reasons behind climate change are being provided to students in the course. This is indoctrination, not education.  


The film is being shown in the laboratory portion of Core 101: Science, Technology and Society which all Roger Williams students are required to take in order to graduate.  


Upon learning of the requirement, RWU College Republicans President Dana Peloso sent a letter to Assistant Dean of Marine and Natural Sciences Jeffrey Hughes arguing that in order to preserve “intellectual honesty” alternative perspectives must be included in class.   “With the issue of global warming being such a highly politicized topic, with the scientific community unsure if global warming is man-induced or part of the natural cycle of the earth, do you think that it is intellectually honest to only show the alarmist viewpoint?" Peloso asked. “If the movie is still shown, what plans are there to incorporate the ideas of leading global warming skeptics into class discussions?”  


In a response to Peloso, Dean Hughes defended the required screening of the film and denied that the causes of global warming are up for debate. Calling the film “an ideal subject for a Core lab,” Hughes wrote, “After an initial and heated debate, scientists no longer question whether the atmosphere is being warmed due to human activities and instead are increasingly impressed with the speed and impact of the process. I repeat: there is no doubt that we’re warming the earth and that a continuation of our activities will lead to profound changes.”



This is false. Numerous scientists from around the world have contested Gore’s claims. Carleton University paleo-climatologist Professor Tim Patterson has testified that, “There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.”



Another scientist, Dr. Boris Winterhalter, from the University of Helsinki in Finland, takes issue with Gore’s conclusions about the breakup of Antarctica’s glaciers. “The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier,” he has stated. “In Antarctica the temperature is low enough to prohibit melting of the ice front, so if the ice is grounded, it has to break off in beautiful ice cascades. If the water is deep enough icebergs will form.”


 “In requiring a biased propaganda film like An Inconvenient Truth to be shown in college classrooms without permitting input from the other side, leftist faculty members expose themselves for what they really are: indoctrinators,” commented Ryan Bilodeau, Chairman of the Rhode Island Federation of College Republicans.


“To show just one side of such a controversial political issue is a travesty,” added RWU College Republicans President Dana Peloso. “We look to academia to show us different avenues of thought and let us make our own decisions on what is true. To force students to view only Al Gore’s perspective on such a politically based-issue is a complete injustice. We look to universities to promote intellectual diversity and instead Roger William’s is stifling it.”  


“I’m not against them showing the movie,” Peloso added, “But if they are going to offer something like this with such a strong political viewpoint, then they need to show contrary points of view as well. We don’t have a solid answer on global warming and for the science department to show students just one side on this issue is a failure of academic freedom.”  


“It is outrageous that Roger Williams, a school named for an outspoken advocate of free speech and free thought, is forcing its students to view this propaganda film in order to graduate,” said David Horowitz, chairman of Students for Academic Freedom. “Our objection is not to the showing of the film, but rather to the university’s failure to present more than one view of a politically-charged and controversial issue like global warming. There are some issues which are not a matter of public controversy. Dean Hughes is wrong. Global warming is not one of them. It’s Dean Hughes’ right as a citizen to believe that Al Gore is wisdom incarnate. His statements indicate that he takes Gore’s film at face value as absolute truth. But it is not his right, as an educator, to force students to agree with him.”  


Planning for Next Year 


As the end of the school year approaches, it is crucial for those SAF leaders who are graduating this spring to name their replacements for the upcoming school year. Please send me an email at or give me a call at our new toll-free number, 888-527-3321, to let me know who the new SAF president or contact person on your campus will be next semester. If you are planning to start an SAF chapter next fall, now is the perfect time to gather the information and materials you will need to hit the ground running next September. Just get in touch with me and I will gladly get you everything you need to get started.  


Yours in Freedom,


Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom