I have been critical of NECSS for how it handled the Richard Dawkins situation. But I am also supportive of NECSS for eventually doing the right thing and issuing an apology to Richard Dawkins.
Yesterday, the NECSS executive committee released the following statement:
We wish to apologize to Professor Dawkins for our handling of his disinvitation to NECSS 2016. Our actions were not professional, and we should have contacted him directly to express our concerns before acting unilaterally. We have sent Professor Dawkins a private communication expressing this as well. This apology also extends to all NECSS speakers, our attendees, and to the broader skeptical movement.
We wish to use this incident as an opportunity to have a frank and open discussion of the deeper issues implicated here, which are causing conflict both within the skeptical community and within society as a whole. NECSS 2016 will therefore feature a panel discussion addressing these topics. There is room for a range of reasonable opinions on these issues and our conversation will reflect that diversity. We have asked Professor Dawkins to participate in this discussion at NECSS 2016 in addition to his prior scheduled talk, and we hope he will accept our invitation.
This statement and our discussions with Professor Dawkins were initiated prior to learning of his recent illness. All of NECSS wishes Professor Dawkins a speedy and full recovery.