TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Some Florida State University professors have been circulating a parody map showing the campus of the future, with a new Bigfoot Institute, a School of Astrology and a Crop Circle Simulation Laboratory.
It’s a not-so-subtle jab in a growing debate over a proposal to build a chiropractic college on this campus – the first such school at a public university in the United States.
More than 500 professors, including the university’s two Nobel laureates, have signed a petition opposing the school and a handful have even threatened to resign rather than teach alongside what they consider a ‘pseudoscience.’
The dispute – the biggest academic furor in recent memory at Florida State – is heading to a showdown decision later this month, pitting FSU faculty and doctors against chiropractors and powerful lawmakers who pushed the $9 million (€7 million) proposal through the Legislature.
But the parody map sums up the views of many faculty -and physicians. They worry that chiropractic isn’t based on real science and that such a program could hurt the university’s academic reputation.
Last week, the faculty committee that oversees curriculum voted 22-0 to stop the proposed chiropractic program until it at least had a say-so in the decision.
For chiropractors, the issue is bigger than just the fight at Florida State. It’s part of an ongoing battle to win respect and credibility in the medical community for their profession. A chiropractic school at FSU would supply a long sought affiliation with an established university and a major boost.
Chiropractic, which focuses on manipulating the spine to lessen back pain and improve overall health, has won wider acceptance over the years; it’s now covered by most health insurance plans.
But in the 110 years since the profession was created, the established medical community has largely boycotted it -challenging its scientific validity in courts and legislative bodies. In 1990, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the American Medical Association guilty of conspiracy to destroy the profession.
‘Chiropractic falls under the same umbrella as any number of therapies including homeopathy, naturopathy, meditation, prayer,’ said Dr. Bill Kinsinger, an Oklahoma anesthesiologist and longtime critic of chiropractors who is working with Florida doctors to block the new school. ‘There’s no more evidence for chiropractic than there is for any of these other therapies.’
The Florida Chiropractic Association says it’s unfair for opponents to try to deny them the opportunity to create the school.