Geoffroy was adamant in stating that Gonzalez's tenure appeal was denied solely on the bank of his research, scholarship, teaching and service, and not Intelligent Design.
"I did not base my decision with anything having to do with Intelligent Design," Geoffroy said. "The weight of all of the components as I considered them simply was not sufficient for the granting of tenure."
In a statement released to The Tribune, Gonzalez indicated he thinks his tenure was denied due to his work with Intelligent Design.
"It is now clear to me that this decision, in effect, had been predetermined by August 2005, when Hector Avalos and other ISU professors began circulating a petition statement condemning Intelligent Design," he said. "At the same time several of the same ISU faculty spread misinformation about me and the nature of my Intelligent Design research in the local press.
"These events poisoned the atmosphere among the faculty and administration on campus towards Intelligent Design, and, ultimately, impacted negatively on my tenure evaluation," he said. "It is unfortunate that the personal religious and ideological beliefs of some faculty have been so influential on this issue."
An article in Friday's Des Moines Register said Gonzalez had raised "significantly less" research grant money than his tenured colleagues did during their road to promotion.
Since July 2001, the article stated, Gonzalez has garnered $22,661 in outside grant money compared to the average $1.3 million his ISU colleagues received before being granted tenure.
Geoffroy said he focused his decision only on what Gonzalez provided in his tenure packet, in which the words "Intelligent Design" never were mentioned. The only reference to Intelligent Design was the mention of his book, "The Privileged Planet," in which Gonzalez argues for Intelligent Design based on the link between the conditions required for life and the conditions required for doing science.
Geoffroy informed Gonzalez of his decision and reasoning behind denial of his tenure appeal Friday.
Gonzalez said he continues to believe he met the criteria of ISU and his department to receive tenure.
Supporters of Intelligent Design have heralded Gonzalez's work as "path-breaking," offering a new theory that an intelligent cause or agent had a hand in the makings of the universe.
Gonzalez's work came under criticism by the mainstream science community who maintained that Intelligent Design is not science but rather the study of theology and philosophy.
In the summer of 2005, three faculty members at ISU drafted a statement against the use of Intelligent Design in science. One of those authors, Avalos, told The Tribune at the time he was concerned the growing prominence of Gonzalez's work was beginning to market ISU as an "intelligent design school."
The statement collected signatures of support from more than 120 ISU faculty members before similar statements surfaced at the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.
In a statement released by the university Friday and in his interview with The Tribune, Geoffroy said he "knows the field of astronomy better than any other field except my own discipline of chemistry."
"My involvement in astronomy is fairly extensive, although I am not an astronomer," he said. "The bottom line is, I feel very, very confident in my ability to assess the qualifications of a candidate seeking tenure in the sciences -- particularly in astronomy - and to pass judgment."
Tenure essentially assures a lifetime job for a faculty member at a university.
At ISU, a candidate's dossier is reviewed by the department chair, a college-level committee, the dean of the college and the executive vice president and provost before going on to the president for a final say. In Gonzalez's case, each level of review recommended to deny Gonzalez tenure.
According to ISU, four of the 12 candidates who applied for tenure in the department of physics and astronomy during the past 10 years have been denied.
William Dillon can be reached at 232-2161, Ext. 361, or William.Dillon@amestrib.com.