After a revolt among students and alumni, comedian and game show host Ben Stein has withdrawn as the paid spring commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree. Critics have cited Stein’s attacks on the theory of evolution and controversial views of science. He was to be paid $7500 for the speech.
UVM President Dan Fogel was obviously relieved by the withdrawal of Stein: “Commencement obviously is an occasion where we celebrate the achievements of our graduates and it should bring people together, it shouldn’t present a speaker who divides the community amidst heated controversy.”
Stein, 64, has denounced the theory of evolution and championed the intelligent design model. He has also tied the rise of the theory of evolution to eugenics and the Nazi movement.
As graduate of Yale Law School and former trial lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission, Stein served as a
speechwriter for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. His most notable gigs, however, were as the host of the Comedy Central game show “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” or as the dry school teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Now that Ben Stein has a day off, it is not clear who the UVM will ask to serve as his replacement.
For the full story, click here.