M.I.T.’s Choice of Lecturer Ignited Criticism. So Did Its Decision to Cancel.
This is a debate fully engaged in academia. No sooner had M.I.T. canceled his speech than Robert P. George, director of Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, invited him to give the speech there on Thursday, the same day as the canceled lecture. Dr. George is a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance, which is dedicated to promoting academic debate.
“M.I.T. has behaved disgracefully in capitulating to a politically motivated campaign,” Dr. George said. “This is part of a larger trend of the politicization of science.”
The story took another turn this week, as David Romps, a professor of climate physics at the University of California, Berkeley, announced that he would resign as director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center. He said he had tried to persuade his fellow scientists and professors to invite Dr. Abbot to speak and so reaffirm the importance of separating science from politics.
“In my view, there are some institutional principles that we have to hold sacred,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.