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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/January 1895/Correspondence



Editor Popular Science Monthly:

DEAR SIR: Referring to an editorial in your October number, entitled Another Raid on the Doctrine of Evolution, and complaining of the dismissal of Charles L. Edwards from the chair of biology in the University of Texas, I beg leave to say that you have been misinformed in regard to the facts in the case.

Prof. Edwards was not dismissed because he was not a Texan. The policy of the university has been from the beginning, and is now, to get the best men possible, regardless of State lines. Eleven years ago, when the university was organized, all the academic professors were from other States than Texas. At present we have six professors from the North, and the successor of Prof. Edwards was born in Illinois and educated in Indiana, Prof. Edwards's own State, and came to us two weeks ago from De Pauw University.

In dismissing Prof. Edwards the regents did not break their contract. He was employed for three years; but this engagement was subject to the following provision embraced in the organic law of the university: "The regents shall have power to remove any professor, tutor, or other officer connected with the institution, when, in their judgment, the interest of the university shall require it." This provision was and is known to every professor in the university, as it is published in every catalogue. It was known to Prof. Edwards, for he was one of the committee of three that edited the catalogue last year. Prof. Edwards served two years as Professor of Biology, and was then dismissed by the regents, on the ground that "in their judgment the interest of the university required it."

Prof. Edwards was not dismissed because he taught the "doctrine of evolution." He was dismissed because he was the author of an anonymous article in the Austin Evening News of June 18, 1894, libeling a member of the Board of Regents, an officer of that board, and a member of the faculty. Regular written charges were preferred against him, alleging that this publication was evidence that he was not a proper instructor for young men. Prof. Edwards was heard in his own defense, but the charges were sustained, and his summary dismissal followed as a matter of course. The alleged fact, therefore, that he was removed because he was an evolutionist is pure invention.

Yours respectfully,
Thomas D. Wooten,
Pres. Board of Regents.
Thomas D. Wooten, Chairman,
T. M. Harwood,
Executive Committee.
Austin, October 1, 1894.