Group protests UT's plan to give Gore honorary Ph.D

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Former Vice President Al Gore is in town for a fundraiser and he will receive an honorary degree from UT Friday, but the subject of why he will get that degree, brought out some people in protest Thursday.

First off, Gore held a fundraiser Thursday evening at the Marriott in downtown Knoxville, but media was not allowed in to the thousand-dollar a person dinner.

Just down the street at the world's fair park, people gathered in anticipation of Gore receiving an honorary degree.

As Chair of the Knoxville Tea Party, Jonathon Baloga helped to organize the event at the World's Fair Park, in response to the University of Tennessee's announcement that former Vice President Al Gore is receiving an honorary degree.

Baloga said, "In my opinion the reason we don't want him to get a degree is because it gives the theory of global warming more credibility."

The Tennessee native will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws and Humane Letters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the Thompson Boling Arena.

But, his books and film on global warming brought nearly 100 people out to hear speakers from around the world.

Baloga said, "Basically presenting facts and informing people about what we believe to be a fraudulent theory, which is global warming."

Viscount Christopher Monckton, the 3rd Monckton of Brenchley, spoke to the group. Monckton is a British advisory and columnist. He said, "And it is frankly a joke to give an Honorary Doctorate to a man who has told a string of lies, and persisted in those lies even after a judge in the UK high court, having heard both sides of the argument very carefully, had held those lies in his movie to be lies."

Phelim McAleer, an Irish journalist and film-maker, came to town because of the honorary degree. He said, "He's being awarded an Honorary Degree [Friday] and his main piece of work has 9 significant errors. I don't think it would be acceptable for a student to put in a thesis that has 9 significant errors."

When UT announced in February that Gore would receive an honorary degree, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said, in a release, that Gore's work "changed our planet for the better."

McAleer said, "I've come to ask him questions, I think I would like answered. Questions, I think, most Americans would like answered about global warming alarm-ism."

McAleer is going to have one of his questions on the banner of a plane, fly over the graduation ceremony, with hope that Gore may answer some of his questions after the graduation.

There is also a protest planned for outside of the ceremony.

Volunteer TV will have crews there, and bring you all the details.


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