- Carole K. Hooven
Academic Freedom Is Social Justice: Sex, Gender, and Cancel Culture on Campus
I teach in and co-direct the undergraduate program in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. During the promotion of my recent book on testosterone and sex differences, I appeared on “Fox and Friends,” a Fox News program, and explained that sex is binary and biological. In response, the director of my department’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging task force (a graduate student) accused me on Twitter of transphobia and harming undergraduates, and I responded. The tweets went viral, receiving international news coverage. The public attack by the task force director runs contrary to Harvard’s stated academic freedom principles, yet no disciplinary action was taken, nor did any university administrators publicly support my right to express my views in an environment free of harassment. Unfortunately, what happened to me is not unusual, and an increasing number of scholars face restrictions imposed by formal sanctions or the creation of hostile work environments. In this article, I describe what happened to me, discuss why clear talk about the science of sex and gender is increasingly met with hostility on college campuses, why administrators are largely failing in their responsibilities to protect scholars and their rights to express their views, and what we can do to remedy the situation.