I posted that absurd comment by the guy who drew up an even more absurd petition to rescue Tim Hunt from the consequences of his own actions, one Stephen Ballentyne, on Facebook. A journalist friend told me the reason people there are angry is that UCL sacked Hunt without hearing his side of the story, a denial of natural justice that I shouldn’t go along with.
Well that’s certainly not the only reason for many people, but leaving that aside – is there any truth in the claim? I don’t know what the normal procedure is with honorary positions, so I crowd-sourced it and a friend found several universities that frankly say they can withdraw honorary positions at will. Knowing this improved my Google-fu so I found the right page at UCL – the page for honorary professorships and similar academic titles.
At the bottom of the page:
Honorary associations of this type are not employment relationships and UCL reserves the right to withdraw honorary status from an individual at any time.
So that’s that issue settled.
Unless, that is, you agree that there’s some issue of “natural justice” here. I don’t. An honorary professorship is an honor given by UCL, and UCL clearly says in writing that it reserves the right to withdraw honorary status from an individual at any time. I think that means what it says.