Ben Stein Out as Vermont Commencement Speaker

After the school received barrage of complaints, the media personality declined the invitation.


When it comes to commencement speeches, judgment came hard and fast for Ben Stein at the University of Vermont, the Burlington Free Press reports. The "media personality," who has recently come under fire for his opposition to the theory of evolution, had been invited to speak at Vermont's May commencement. But the school fielded a barrage of complaints after its announcement last Thursday,and Stein agreed to back out of the event, the school confirmed Monday. He also declined the $7,500 honorarium that accompanied the invitation.

Stein had been selected by Vermont President Dan Fogel based largely on the positive reception the "actor/comedian/lawyer/economist/presidential speechwriter/filmmaker" received at a lecture last spring. But the Vermont blogosphere vehemently opposed the commencement pick, calling Stein's beliefs "anti-science."

Fogel is now choosing a new speaker and plans to "use a more consultative process to identify commencement speakers in the future," a university spokesman said.