It seems timely and necessary to post UCL’s press release about Tim Hunt’s resignation.
10 June 2015
UCL can confirm that Sir Tim Hunt FRS has today resigned from his position as Honorary Professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences, following comments he made about women in science at the World Conference of Science Journalists on 9 June.
UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men, and the university believes that this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality.
See that? That’s important. The people squawking about witch hunts and packs of baying women with pitchforks seem to think that UCL pushed Tim Hunt out to punish him for expressing his contempt for “girls.” That’s fatuous. UCL didn’t want to keep an honorary professor who had expressed his contempt for “girls” to a group of women scientists at a professional conference. Of course it didn’t! If UCL had kept him on then it would have seemed to endorse, or at least refuse to reject, his publicly professionally expressed contempt for “girls” in the lab. That would be an abysmal outcome.
The title of UCL Honorary Professor is reserved for individuals who are closely linked to one of UCL’s academic departments (or Institutes) and who are from a non-UCL academic/research institution. The appointee should be of an academic standing equivalent to that of Professor at UCL. It does not carry a salary, and does not ordinarily involve teaching or research at UCL, with activities undertaken in consultation with the relevant Department.
Updated statement – 15th June 2015
Sir Tim Hunt’s personal decision to offer his resignation from his honorary position at UCL was a sad and unfortunate outcome of the comments he made in a speech last week. Media and online commentary played no part in UCL’s decision to accept his resignation.
Sir Tim held an honorary position at UCL. He was not, and never has been, employed by UCL at any stage of his career and did not receive a salary from UCL.
That’s important too. It was an honorary position. UCL didn’t fire him; he didn’t work for UCL.
UCL sought on more than one occasion to make contact with Sir Tim to discuss the situation, but his resignation was received before direct contact was established.
UCL accepted his resignation of his honorary position in good faith, and in doing so sent a clear signal that equality and diversity are truly valued at UCL. We continue to be open to engagement and dialogue on how we can best deliver on our commitment to these values.
I think the part about “in good faith” must mean that they’re not happy about the way he’s whining and complaining now.
UCL did the right thing. Tim Hunt is acting like an entitled petulant baby.