Dr. Ben Carson is responding to pushback from faculty members at a small liberal arts school after a public letter shamed Alma College for inviting the accomplished neurosurgeon and emeritus professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to speak on campus Wednesday.
“I am humbled to be invited to speak at Alma College, and I hope that the attendees enjoy my speech on the rational approach to taking risks and what led me to a career as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.”
Carson continued, “While there may be some opponents to the fact that I have been invited to speak, I hope that they understand I am only here to inspire, not to address any type of political issues or things associated with my presidential exploratory committee.”
Carson added that he respects their freedom of speech and willingness to voice their respective opinions.
Roughly a quarter of the faculty members at the small private liberal arts school, Alma College, located in Alma, Michigan, wrote a letter published in the school newspaper expressing concern about having Dr. Carson as a college-sponsored speaker, according to Morning Sun News.
The letter was released the night before the school’s Honors Day, when Carson is set to deliver his speech.
Carson is a possible Republican candidate for president and a famed pediatric neurosurgeon. He’s also known for his outspoken political views, which include comments about gay marriage and homosexuals.
When Carson was first announced as a speaker, there was backlash from students and faculty, so Alma College President Jeff Abernathy issued a response saying the invitation had been issued in 2012, prior to Carson’s controversial public comments.
Abernathy’s statement read, “We thought then, as we think now, that his inspiring life story as a surgeon and Michigan native, his history of groundbreaking medical achievements, and his ongoing commitment through the Carson Scholars Fund to rewarding academic excellence and improving K-12 science education were all worthy of celebration.”
It was also emphasized that Carson was not the official Honors Day speaker.
Following Abernathy’s statement, the faculty letter read, “To a great many students, faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends of the college, however, Dr. Carson’s address is still problematic in that his publicly espoused views are antithetical to the values of Alma College.”
The letter states that having Carson as a speaker is in contrast to the fundamental ideals of the university.
Carson’s speech begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday on the Alma College Campus.