Everyone is fully aware that Harvard’s now ex-President Claudine Gay, and the august university itself, fully supports the free speech of students calling for the full elimination of Jews in Israel.
But far fewer know that a Harvard evolutionary biologist was forced to resign her 20-year faculty position at the Ivy League school simply because she believes that being male or female is an objective biological fact and said so out loud.
While promoting her new book on testosterone and sex difference, she appeared on a Fox News program and plainly stated that sex is binary, existing only as male and female, and that this fact is rooted in biology.
In her Free Press piece, Hooven stated, “In the brief segment on Fox, my troubles began when I described how biologists define male and female, and argued that these are invaluable terms that science educators in particular should not relinquish in response to pressure from ideologues.”
Of course, this wholly uncontroversial observation violated the new and anti-scientific gender ideology that male and female are merely personal, subjective identities. This is make-believe, however.
But Harvard, whose motto is Veritas (Truth), sided with the unscientific activists and it ended up costing Hooven her beloved job and reputation. Here is the tweet that launched the campaign against Hooven.
As the Director of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for my dept @HarvardHEB, I am appalled and frustrated by the transphobic and harmful remarks made by a member of my dept in this interview with Fox and Friends: https://t.co/kiBwkaqLGM#medtwitter
— Laura Simone Lewis, PhD (@LauraSimoneLew) July 30, 2021
Hooven tweeted this in response,
I appreciate your concerns. Could you let me (and the Twitterverse) know exactly what I said that you consider transphobic or harmful to undergrads? I think you know that I care deeply about all of my students, and I also care about science. How about a discussion?
Hooven also explained to the Harvard student newspaper, “We can be caring and sensitive to the needs and identities of everyone, while also sticking to biological reality.” But that reasonable kindness found no favor with her critics. No academic discussion took place. Only denunciation and accusations.
So much for Harvard’s strong commitment to free speech.
Hoveen writes in The Free Press, “My ordeal has been used to illustrate the hypocrisy of the assertions by Harvard’s leaders that they honor the robust exchange of challenging ideas.” It is clear they do not. The problem is so obvious that even The New York Times has called Harvard’s evolving ethics on free speech a “double standard.”
Bret Stephens of the Times quoted Michigan congressman Tim Walberg asking Claudine Gay in a now infamous congressional hearing, “In what world is a call for violence against Jews protected speech, but a belief that sex is biological and binary isn’t?” Stephens explained, “Gay offered no real answer.” You can watch Walberg’s query and Gay’s response here.
But there was no dialogue. Only condemnation of Hooven, and a failure of any adult on the Harvard payroll to defend her. An important point here is whether Professor Hooven was actually forced to resign.
The proper answer is yes and no.
Her case is similar to Professor Kathleen Stock, a lesbian and award winning philosophy professor at Sussex University, who was forced out of her job in 2021 because she believes “trans women” are indeed men. This got her branded as transphobic and students publicly called for her ouster.
Stock told The Guardian, “It was when I saw my own union branch’s statement, which basically backed the protesters and implicitly made it obvious that they thought I was transphobic and accused Sussex University of institutional transphobia” that she knew she was being ostracized from her place of employment. She felt she had no choice but to leave.
Hooven similarly felt she had no choice but to leave her position at Harvard for which she had received regular accolades by students and the university newspaper. She explains,
While the stated aims of DEI may have been laudable, in practice, DEI culture allows the recasting of certain ideas as “dangerous” or “harmful,” which squashes viewpoint diversity and the open, vigorous debate that should be at the heart of a thriving institution of higher education. So while I was not [technically] “forced” to resign, Harvard’s culture of intolerance – particularly toward my scientific views on the nature of sex – led me to feel that my only choice was to leave.
This did not come without significant cost to Hooven, besides students losing a gifted and caring professor. She explains that when her colleagues did not come to her defense, “I just wanted to disappear – and that’s pretty much what I did.” The bullying by students and the cowardice of her faculty peers and administration left a mark, “Eventually I was diagnosed with severe major depression, which included intrusive, persistent, and unwanted suicidal thoughts.”
All because she did her job as a biologist and talked about the objective reality of male and female. This is how evolution works, is it not? Male and female, and only male and female, cooperate exclusively in passing DNA onto the next generation. But now saying such things can, even in a bastion of “free speech” like Harvard or any other elite university, cost you your career. Calling for the elimination of Jews, however, gets a total pass. This is the world in which we now live in and it is the direct result of DEI ideology and transgenderism.
It is a travesty.
Image credit: AEI