The Illinois News-Gazette has an interesting twist in an editorial. Read it and let’s see if you can detect a bit of bias here.
One recent blot on the UI’s reputation, one that received statewide attention, was the disgracefully successful effort by a faculty ideologue to block a planned speech on cancer research by a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. Alas, the faculty members who were so agitated by the Salaita episode were conspicuously silent about the cancellation of a talk by Dr. James Watson, an esteemed 89-year-old molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist.
Kate Clancy, a faculty member at the University of Illinois, is
a faculty ideologue.
James Watson is
an esteemed 89-year-old molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist.
Clancy is a well-regarded anthropologist with a commendable record of public outreach. Watson, on the other hand, as every biologist knows, has a reputation as a raving loose cannon with deplorable ideas about women and black people. You wouldn’t go to a talk by him to hear about new developments in cancer research, you’d go anticipating the moment when it would go off the rails and produce a spectacular crash, and you’d be disappointed if he managed to stay focused (which he wouldn’t). It would be very exciting in the way that a NASCAR race is — cars going around and around in circles, livened up with the occasional disaster.
That editorial is grossly misinformed about the actual situation, and the author is relying on superficial information with an authoritarian twist — Watson has a Nobel prize! He would never deliver a talk about oversexed African men, spiced up with slides of women in bikinis! Except that he did. I’ve had my own encounter with Jim Watson, and really…he’s not a good choice for a speaker anywhere.
Unfortunately, that misleading editorial has now led to online harassment, and for Clancy to fear for her safety. This looks trivial, but it’s actually rather chilling.
Today, the day after that editorial, I found a sticky note on the front door of my home asking me to check my email.
— Kate Clancy (@KateClancy) June 27, 2017
Why would you email someone, and then drive to their home and leave a note to tell them to check their mail? One reason: to let them know that you know where they live.
Clancy has a recommendation. Let this newspaper know how dishonest and dangerous they were by publishing such nonsense.