After lecture is canceled, free speech debate roils science academia

Asia's Tech News Daily

A prominent climate physicist has resigned from one of his roles at the University of California, Berkeley, after he said faculty members would not agree to invite a guest lecturer to the school who had come under fire for his political views.

© Provided by NBC News

The lecturer, Dorian Abbot, a geophysicist, has been criticized for opposing affirmative action programs and other initiatives to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at colleges and universities. He has been the subject of boycotts and opposition from left-leaning students and at academic faculty meetings.

In a statement on Twitter, the physicist, David Romps, said Monday that he is stepping down as director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center, or BASC, “at the end of this calendar year or when a replacement is ready, whichever is sooner.” Romps will remain a professor in the school’s department of earth and planetary sciences, a university spokesperson said.

The incident has added to the debate about when, if ever, it is appropriate to suppress speech on college campuses.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology this month rescinded a lecture invitation to Abbot, a geophysicist and associate professor at the University of Chicago, amid public backlash over an op-ed he co-wrote in Newsweek that argued in favor of a “Merit, Fairness, and Equality” framework on campuses as an alternative to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which he said sought “to increase the representation of some groups through discrimination against members of other groups.” Last year, Abbot also denounced the riots that erupted in Chicago after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He addressed those comments in a post published Oct. 5 on Substack.

Abbot was scheduled to deliver the prestigious Carlson Lecture at MIT’s department of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences about his research on climate science and the potential for alien planets to support life.

Romps, who did not respond to a request for comment, said his request to the faculty followed the MIT cancellation.

Romps said he asked faculty members whether the school could invite Abbot “to speak to us in the coming months to hear the science talk he had prepared and, by extending the invitation now, reaffirm that BASC is a purely scientific organization, not a political one,” he wrote on Twitter.

He said that discussions remained unresolved and that his colleagues’ unwillingness to include guest lecturers who have divergent political beliefs goes against the school’s mission.

“Excluding people because of their political and social views diminishes the pool of scientists with which members of BASC can interact and reduces the opportunities for learning and collaboration,” he wrote, adding that such actions signal that “some opinions — even well-intentioned ones — are forbidden, thereby increasing self-censorship, degrading public discourse, and contributing to our nation’s political balkanization.”

Abbot said in an emailed statement: “Professor Romps is an extremely brave proponent of academic freedom. There are very few people willing to openly defend academic freedom, let alone resign an important directorship in support of it. If we had a few more leaders and administrators like Professor Romps, we wouldn’t be having a crisis of academic freedom in our universities.”

Dan Mogulof, a spokesperson for UC Berkeley, said the school believes diversity of perspective is “absolutely essential.”

“UC Berkeley’s administration regrets that the director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center has decided to resign given that faculty members affiliated with the Center have not yet fully discussed and considered — much less decided — whether to extend an invitation to the speaker in question,” Mogulof said in a statement.

Keith Whittington, a professor of politics at Princeton University and the chair of the academic committee of the Academic Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit free speech organization, said decisions to shy away from lecture topics or figures who represent opposing viewpoints or have controversial personal politics risk compromising the principles of free speech that universities are meant to uphold.

“That could shrink the scope quite dramatically of what kinds of ideas and opinions can be discussed on college campuses,” he said.

But equating the cancellation of a school’s public lecture to censorship oversimplifies the matter, said Phoebe Cohen, a paleontologist and associate professor of geosciences at Williams College. She said concerns over whether such actions curtail free speech on campuses are overblown.

“It becomes this battle cry of free speech and academic freedom, but he has academic freedom,” Cohen said of Abbot. “He is allowed to say whatever he wants to say, and he has, but that doesn’t mean that he’s free from consequences.”

And while universities should uphold academic freedoms, Cohen said, institutions also have a responsibility to consider the communities their students and faculties are a part of. 

“It comes down to who is being harmed,” she said. “Universities don’t have a responsibility to platform people who are harming others.”

Still, Whittington said, Abbot’s case differs from other cancellations because the views expressed in his op-ed were unrelated to the topic of his planned lecture at MIT.

“We’re not talking about some outside provocateur that a student group brought to campus,” Whittington said. “We’re talking about a distinguished scientist who was invited to give a scientific talk and people were saying he can’t do that because he also happens to hold political beliefs they disagree with.”

Whittington and his colleagues at the Academic Freedom Alliance sent a letter Monday asking MIT to take action to address and rectify the situation.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Lindsay Lohan announces she's engaged on Instagram

"My love. My life. My family. My future," Lohan wrote on Instagram. Read more »

I'm A Celeb's Richard Madeley reveals he almost died during childhood tuberculosis battle

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star Richard Madeley has revealed he thought he would die after getting struck down by tuberculosis as a child. The Good Morning ... Read more »

Is monotasking the new multitasking?

© C.J. Burton Switching constantly between tasks can lead to burnout, according to research. Photo: Getty Shruti Verma, 45, couldn’t quite put a finger on it, but she felt a ... Read more »

Kalah dengan satu undi, cadangan babitkan wakil rakyat pembangkang dalam JTPD ditolak

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Johor Suhaizan Kaiat, memaklumkan seramai 28 Ahli DUN tidak bersetuju, manakala 27 ADUN bersetuju setelah undian secara rahsia dijalankan selama ... Read more »

Moderna says it might release a modified COVID-19 vaccine for the Omicron variant by early 2022

© Rick Bowmer/AP Photo A vial of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Rick Bowmer/AP Photo Moderna’s chief medical officer said the company could release an updated vaccine by early 2022. News of ... Read more »

New Covid variant shuts borders across the globe

© Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP Israel announced some of the strictest curbs, closing the borders to all foreigners — just four weeks after reopening to tourists following a prolonged closure ... Read more »

Legendary F1 team boss Sir Frank Williams dies aged 79

© Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images Frank Williams, Williams Team Owner Williams was admitted to hospital on Friday, according to a statement issued by the team, and died peacefully on ... Read more »

5 things to know on November 28, 2021: Shooting, smash-and-grab, Maxwell, storms, music awards

Hundreds of thousands of US students are dreading turning 21 because it means they’ll be living in limbo and scrambling to find ways to stay in the country they love. ... Read more »

Trial set to start on charges Smollett faked racist attack

The Associated PressFILE – In this May 20, 2016, file photo, actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the “Empire” FYC Event in Los Angeles. Smollett is going on trial this ... Read more »

Morocco halts all incoming air travel from around the world because of rapid spread of new omicron variant

PARIS — Morocco halts all incoming air travel from around the world because of rapid spread of new omicron variant. Read more »

Sir Frank Williams dead aged 79: Formula 1 legend passes away after lengthy battle with illness as tributes flood in

FORMULA ONE legend and former team owner Sir Frank Williams has sadly passed away aged 79 following a battle with illness. The racing icon, who founded Williams in 1977 before ... Read more »

TFT Oceania Arcanist Cup: Standings, scores, and schedule

© Provided by Dot Esports Oceania’s best Teamfight Tactics players are battling it out in the Arcanist Cup for a chance to represent their region at the Teamfight Tactics Gizmos ... Read more »

Deregulierung der Finanzindustrie: Neue Freiheiten für die Skandal-Branche

Bundesbern will neue Fonds erlauben, die von der Finanzmarktaufsicht nicht beaufsichtigt werden. Welche Folgen das in Zukunft haben wird, ist kaum absehbar. © Bereitgestellt von Blick Neue Freiheiten für die ... Read more »

Iran nuclear talks to resume with world powers after five-month hiatus

Photograph: Fernando Alvarado/EPA Expectations of salvaging 2015 deal low amid fears Iran is covertly boosting nuclear programme Talks between world powers and Iran on salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal will ... Read more »

DRI busts an iPhone 13 smuggling racket, seizes over 3,600 phones

The Mumbai unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted an Apple iphone smuggling racket and has seized over 3,600 handsets of the recently launched iphone 13 series. The ... Read more »

Developers challenged over carbon footprint of new buildings in UK

Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images There is a new front in Britain’s planning wars. Rows over obstructed views and architectural style are being elbowed aside by concerns about the carbon footprint ... Read more »

Messi assists help PSG top Saint-Etienne in French league

SAINT-ETIENNE, France (AP) — Lionel Messi had three assists in a 3-1 win over 10-man Saint-Etienne on Sunday to help Paris Saint-Germain extend its lead atop the French league standings ... Read more »

Wriddhiman Saha braves pain and overcomes tricky situation to take India to match-winning total, fans react

© Provided by DNA Team India wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha played one of the innings of his career, if not his best considering the situation and the stakes in the first ... Read more »

Trending Entertainment News Today: Shah Rukh Khan-Rani Mukerji together again, Katrina Kaif-Vicky Kaushal's wedding guest list, when Amitabh Bachchan washed Kareena Kapoor's feet and more

© Provided by BollywoodLife.com With the clock winding down on another day, it’s time to look back at the biggest newsmakers from the entertainment world who’ve made it to the ... Read more »

GHKPM Actress Aishwarya Sharma Blushes At Mehendi Ceremony, Watch Video

© Provided by Lehren GHKPM Actress Aishwarya Sharma Blushes At Mehendi Ceremony, Watch Video Wedding festivities have begun at Aishwarya Sharma’s house in Madhya Pradesh. Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin ... Read more »

Kartik Aaryan ups the cool quotient with his whacky shirt

© IANS Kartik Aaryan ups the cool quotient with his whacky shirt Mumbai, Nov 28 (IANS) Fresh from the success of his action thriller ‘Dhamaka’, Kartik Aaryan seems to be ... Read more »

This is the end: Comedian Munawar Faruqui after 12 shows get cancelled, fans say 'don't give up'

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Comedian Munawar Faruqui recently shared a serious note on Instagram talking about his recent show in Bangalore getting cancelled due to threats to the ... Read more »

PIP assessments - how descriptors will determine if you'll get boosted payments in 2022

PIP and other benefit payments will be rising from April 2022 the DWP has confirmed. However, what a claimant gets will depend on how they’re assessed with certain “descriptors” determining ... Read more »

Here's a first look at the First Family of Sanya Lopez, Gabby Concepcion in 'First Lady'

Photo: Gabby Concepcion/IG The First Family is complete and looking happier than ever in the first look at “First Lady,” the sequel of hit series “First Yaya.” On Instagram, Gabby ... Read more »

Explainer-What remains of the Iran nuclear deal as talks resume?

FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna By Francois Murphy VIENNA (Reuters) – Talks on reviving the 2015 Iran ... Read more »

An officer shot a suspect Sunday morning, Coral Gables police said

Police cars and crime scene tape filled a block of two-floor Coral Gables apartment buildings after an officer shot someone Sunday morning. The agency announced the shooting in the 100 ... Read more »

Intruder removed from I'm A Celebrity... set

Intruder removed from I’m A Celebrity… set credit:Bang Showbiz An intruder was removed from the 'I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!' castle set earlier this week. The “security ... Read more »

U.S. readies fight against Omicron but too soon for lockdowns -Fauci

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on federal government coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response in Washington WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Americans should be prepared to fight the spread of the new ... Read more »

Video: Stowaway from Guatemala discovered in plane's fuselage in Florida

According to the plane's pilot, the man would have endured subzero temperatures for at least two hours while concealed in the wheel well. Read more »

Czech PM appointed from behind plexiglass box

© Reuters The president has been recovering from an undisclosed illness Czech President Milos Zeman has appointed opposition leader Petr Fiala as the country’s new prime minister. Mr Zeman – ... Read more »

Disney+, Hulu and more—the best Cyber Monday 2021 streaming deals you can still get

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. There are plenty of great deals this year for Cyber Monday ... Read more »

Spanish defender Sergio Ramos makes his much-anticipated PSG debut

Spanish defender Sergio Ramos will make his long-awaited debut for Paris Saint-Germain in Sunday’s Ligue 1 game at Saint-Etienne. © Craig Brough, Reuters The 35-year-old joined the club back in ... Read more »

Soccer-Messi in assist mode as PSG beat 10-man St Etienne

ST ETIENNE, France (Reuters) – Lionel Messi set up all three goals as Paris St Germain stretched their Ligue 1 lead to 14 points with a 3-1 comeback win at ... Read more »

Rugby-Ireland's Munster to remain in Cape Town after positive COVID test

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Irish rugby team Munster are to remain in Cape Town after one of the travelling party tested positive for COVID-19, the club said on Sunday. Munster are ... Read more »

Autosport Podcast: "Formula E Drivers Ranked with Jack Nicholls"

The current issue (25 November 2021) of Autosport magazine, on sale now, features a special Formula E supplement that charts how Mercedes overcame its turbulent series bow to construct its ... Read more »

Club source now reveals latest on Newcastle January target; Howe once dubbed him 'outstanding'

A source from Manchester City has now revealed the latest on the future of Newcastle United January transfer target Nathan Ake. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Nathan Ake Man City ... Read more »

Voices: Voters will tell us what they think of Boris Johnson's Peppa Pig speech in next week's by-election

Voices: Voters will tell us what they think of Boris Johnson’s Peppa Pig speech in next week’s by-election This was Peppa Pig week, the week in which a cartoon character ... Read more »

Patel speaks with Dutch minister amid ‘urgent talks' over Channel crossings

Priti Patel has discussed Channel boat crossings with the Dutch migration minister as she said she will hold “urgent talks” with her European counterparts this week. The Home Secretary spoke ... Read more »

Tunai nazar balik kampung, juruteknik jalan kaki 290km, 4 hari rentas 3 negeri

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Mohd Syahrizal Harun tiba di Hentian Gua Musang hari ini, selepas berjalan kaki sejauh 290km untuk pulang ke Kampung Bertam Baru. (Gambar Facebook Konsortium ... Read more »

P15.7 billion in health workers' benefits released –DOH

DOH Department of Health The Department of Health on Sunday reported that over P15.7 billion in benefits for healthcare workers had already been disbursed. In a statement, the DOH said ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic