Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Naturopathic Doctors Convocate At University of Toronto

At Sandwalk, Larry Moran rants a bit about the recent Naturopathic Doctor convocation ceremony at the University of Toronto, in where else, but Convocation Hall:
Convocation Hall is where the university's own graduation ceremonies take place (the name is a clue!). The average person will assume that the University of Toronto supports the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and that our faculty has no problem with graduating quack "doctors." This practice should stop.
The post spawned something of a flame war in the comments, but an exchange between Barry and Larry (That's not a joke) is thought provoking.

Barry commented:
Larry, I'm a little puzzled by your position. I presume (based on your reasoning over the Ball State case) that if you had faculty at the University of Toronto who promoted Naturopathic medicine you would defend this as an "academic freedom" issue. Yet having an independent College of Naturopathic Medicine present degrees there somehow brings the university name into disrepute and you feel sufficiently strongly about this that you say "This practice should stop".

Surely the "offense" in both cases is the presentation of material antithetical to the concept of a university education, which is apparently OK if it is done by your own faculty, but to be prevented if done by an outside body who, I assume, you think more strongly positioned to damage the reputation of the university through association than an assistant professor in their direct employment.
To which Larry replies:
I would strongly oppose the teaching of Naturopathic medicine at the University of Toronto just as I would strongly oppose teaching creationism. I might even picket the classroom or hand out pamphlets to the students.

What I would NOT do is try to get a professor fired or threaten him/her with a lawsuit.

I don't see any inconsistency in advocating that the university not rent out space to a private school that teaches nonsence [sic].
I don't know how much the average person would read into a University renting space to an organization, but I wouldn't take it as a message of support, tacit or not.  Rent is rent, and at the end of the day if the University isn't signing on to the diplomas, it doesn't matter. 

I've never seen a diploma bearing the logo or brand of the location where the degree was granted when it's not actually affiliated with the degree.