Dorian Abbot is an associate professor of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. He was scheduled to deliver remotely the prestigious Carlson Lecture at MIT. This lecture is devoted to new results in climate science.
However, bowing to the woke mob, MIT cancelled the lecture. Why? Because professor Abbot has argued for academic evaluations based on academic merit.
This view shouldn’t be controversial. However, as Abbot says, wokeism holds that “equity” – equality of outcomes – is more important than equality – giving everyone the same opportunity.
Abbot’s defense of academic merit isn’t his only sin. He reports that he’s been a target of “woke” students since last year when he posted several videos on YouTube denouncing the rioting that erupted in Chicago after the death of George Floyd.
A professor who denounces riots and supports academic merit? We can’t have that.
Fortunately, MIT and the mob didn’t get the last word. Princeton stepped into the breach. It agreed to host Abbot’s lecture via Zoom on October 21 at 4:30, the same time it had been scheduled by MIT. I’m pretty sure this was due, at least in part, to the intervention of professor Robert George, a stalwart defender of free speech.
The response to Princeton’s move has been overwhelmingly positive. Thousands have registered for the lecture. Professor George reports that the Zoom quota for the event has been expanded.
As the Daily Mail puts it, the cancel culture backfired — at least in this case.
Professor Abbot remains under fire from woke students at the University of Chicago. The Daily Mail reports on the efforts to cancel him there. However, the University’s president, Robert Zimmer, has stood up for Abbot’s right to speak freely.
It’s shameful, though, that MIT knuckled under to the woke mob by cancelling Abbot’s speech. In the end, this was a victory for free expression and a defeat for the cancel culture. But the affair demonstrates once again the threat that wokeness poses to freedom in America.
STEVE adds: You can find my writeup of the original controversy over Abbot at the University of Chicago here.