I made a prediction last summer.
The fall from grace was precipitous, but it should have happened long ago. The molecular biologist David M. Sabatini has been outright fired from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Whitehead Institute, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he also loses his tenured position at MIT soon enough. Can you guess what prompted his ouster?
Sabatini was the unpleasant combination of arrogance and entitlement that led him to think he could fake data and sexually harass his students. He lost all of his affiliated positions at various prestigious institutions, but kept his tenure at MIT.
David Sabatini, the high-profile biologist who was forced out of the Whitehead Institute in summer 2021 after a probe found he violated its sexual harassment policies, has resigned his tenured professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His move came after three senior MIT officials recommended revoking his tenure.
“Professor Sabatini has stepped down from his tenured faculty position at MIT … without exercising his policy right to request that a faculty committee … review the recommendation to revoke tenure,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif wrote in an email to faculty members this afternoon.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. I do wonder where Sabatini is going to end up, since he’s managed to flush his entire career down the toilet. There’s a lesson to be learned there.
I think this comment from Nancy Hopkins is also an important message for everyone considering careers in science:
Nancy Hopkins, an emeritus professor of biology who helped lead a landmark push for gender equality on the MIT faculty in the 1990s, called the Sabatini resignation “a milestone,” noting in an email, “First, MIT had rules in place that forbid the faculty behavior in question. Second, a young woman had the courage to demand that the rules be enforced. And third, she was heard.”
She added: “It is noteworthy—and another sign of progress—that the heads of HHMI and the Whitehead Institute and MIT’s Dean of Science are all women—two of them the first women to hold these positions.”
Ha! The dude-bros were right to fear the feminists!