Are we done with Tim Hunt now?

Probably not, if you’re one of those people whose response to the Tim Hunt situation is to see conspiracies and witch hunts and a desire to destroy a scientist’s career. But the truth is that critics of Hunt have not been baying for anyone’s blood, but have been saying that sexist jokes at a women’s science meeting speak to a kind of arrogance that is not appropriate for an ambassador for equality. University College London has released a plain-spoken statement, confirming that the council unanimously found his comments entirely inappropriate for an honorary professor, and they have affirmed that his position is retracted.

UCL Council, the university’s governing body, has today reviewed all of the circumstances of the resignation of Sir Tim Hunt as an Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Life Sciences on 10 June. Having seen the relevant correspondence, including the exchange of emails between Sir Tim and UCL, the Council is satisfied that his resignation was accepted in good faith. Council unanimously supports the decision taken by UCL’s executive to accept the resignation.

The subsequent extent of media interest was unprecedented, and Council recognises the distress caused to Sir Tim and Professor Mary Collins. Council acknowledges that all parties agree that reinstatement would be inappropriate.

Council recognises that there are lessons to be learned around the communication process. Consequently it has requested that the executive undertake a review of its communications strategy.

That’s only fair, and that’s all anyone on my side of the issue thought.

I don’t suppose anyone who is convinced that this was a plot by liberals to stab a Nobel prize winner in the back will be satisfied, but those loons can just fuck right off.


  1. jacksprocket says

    Seems a lose- lose thing, given the rules. UCL did the right thing for once (oddly). but the “famous scientists” of the media circus all bayed like a pack of poodles- I was very disappointed with Brian Cox not understanding the social/power dynamic. What do we expect after Watson, Crick … and , oh, who whatsername?

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Considering that the council is probably made up of full professors, the “unanimous” is telling how far over the line Hunt was:

    Council unanimously supports the decision taken by UCL’s executive to accept the resignation.

    Now, can the apologists actually acknowledge the facts in light of sexual harassment training, and agree that Hunt’s decision to step down voluntarily was appropriate and honorable? Nope, I know so Tim….

  3. azpaul3 says

    I cannot feel sorry for Dr. Hunt. He is a Nobel laureate. That is an accomplishment of a lifetime. He also stuck his fat foot in his fat mouth in a most inappropriate and most public way so filled with his personal stature and male privilege he didn’t even think about what he was saying. That also is an accomplishment of a lifetime.

    Maybe the next Nobel laureate to address a conference will engage brain and keep his feet in his shoes.

  4. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    Nerd @ 3

    Of course they can’t acknowledge it. The alleged unanimity of the decision is simply the latest harbinger of the encroachment of the SJW menace. The rational, dudely members of the council will have been badgered into it somehow. I suspect Anita Sarkeesian’s involvement tee bee aitch.

  5. captainblack says

    Catnip @1, maybe not on communists but certainly on atheists; UCL is after all “That godless institution in Gower Street”

  6. Cartimandua says

    Hunt got to wear the logical consequences of his behaviour – as did Bora. The personal cost is part of assuming responsibility for actions. So no concerns on that front.

    That said, I am not surprised that the UCL node of privilage self accessed and found themselves blameless. I’d expect nothing less. But even a broken clock …

  7. anchor says

    Hunt’s remarks are outrageous and that anyone (particularly in the academic community) has come out to defend him on any excuse – whether seeking after understanding based on human fallibility or attempting substantiation through whatever other contortion to make his remarks digestible in an effort to absolve a misogynistic lout – obviously underscores a culture that is obnoxiously present in academia…a notion I once tried to raise in this forum years ago…only to be shot down solely on the strength of a blind allegiance to some fictitious academic integrity.

    Its mighty sad that people only start seeing a signal of fault only when something the size of a Nobel prize winner is involved.

  8. says

    If Hunt had made a “joke” about how black people should be segregated in the labs because they were always eating fried chicken and watermelon there, or that Jews should be kept separate in the labs because they were so cheap, or that Muslims should be segregated in the labs because they were always setting off bombs, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. He would have been out on his ass the instant he said it. But because the “joke” was at the expense of women, a bunch of a-holes leap to his defense.

  9. moarscienceplz says

    Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure of that. There’s plenty of racism, anti-semitism, and general bigotry to complement all the misoginy in the rarified circles that Dawkins and his ilk flutter about in.

  10. moarscienceplz says

    That should have been ‘misogyny’ not ‘mioginy’.
    Need moar coffee.

  11. Julie says


    I was very disappointed with Brian Cox not understanding the social/power dynamic.

    I have to admit I have been desperately trying to ignore what he said. Sort of a lalalala I didn’t hear you.
    Every time I see a post from him of my FB feed I cringe all the same.

  12. lucy1965 says

    Last week’s episode of The Now Show, a topical comedy program on BBC Radio 4, used the word “ambiguous”. Also “witch hunt”. By the time the segment was over I was shouting things like “you lying sacks of shit” at the radio, which was not terribly effective but felt good. (Yes, I apologized to the spouse and the cats after.) Given the statement by UCL, I think I will skip this week’s podcast.