Berkeley Physicist Resigns After Colleagues Block UChicago Professor from Speaking at Science Event

We recently discussed the cancelling of Dorian Abbot, an associate professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, who was prevented from speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The reason was not the merits of his scientific work but his opposition to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs. Now, a climate physicist at Berkeley has resigned in protest of his colleagues also blocking Abbot from speaking. Professor  David Romps said in a Twitter thread that he resigned as director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center rather than participate in such censorship of a fellow academic. With many academics fearful of the backlash over supporting free speech or academic freedom, Romps’ resignation was an increasingly rare profile in courage.

Abbot was scheduled to give the John Carlson Lecture in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT on October 21. He received repeated messages from the school that the lecture was going forward even after some objected due to his criticism of DEI policies.

Last year, Abbot objected that DEI measures were elevating the race or gender of candidates above their qualifications. He called for the school to reaffirm the long-standing position that academic slots would be filled by the best candidate without consideration to race, gender, or status. The response from  “58 students and postdocs of the Department of Geophysical Sciences, and 71 other graduate students and postdocs from other University of Chicago departments” was a letter calling for Abbot to be punished for expressing his views.

Then, to make matters worse in the eyes of the critics, Abbot did not recede into the darkness but continued to state his opinions. In August, Abbot co-authored a column in Newsweek headlined “The Diversity Problem on Campus.” He and his co-author Ivan Marinovic, an associate professor of accounting at Stanford Graduate School of Business, wrote “DEI violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment. It entails treating people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century.”

None of this, of course, has to do with Abbot’s scientific research.  However, his MIT address was cancelled and some other academics heralded the decision to bar him due to his views on DEI. (Abbot later spoke at Princeton to a large gathering).

That brings us to Berkeley. Romps was shocked when his colleagues also blocked Abbot. In his posting, Romps stated

“I hold BASC and its faculty – my friends and colleagues – in the highest regard, and so it has been a great honor to serve as BASC’s director these past five years. But it was never my intention to lead an organization that is political or even ambiguously so.

…I was hoping we could agree that BASC does not consider an individual’s political or social opinions when selecting speakers for its events, except for cases in which the opinions give a reasonable expectation that members of our community would be treated with disrespect … Excluding people because of their political and social views diminishes the pool of scientists with which members of BASC can interact and reduces the opportunities for learning and collaboration…More broadly, such exclusion signals that some opinions – even well-intentioned ones – are forbidden, thereby increasing self-censorship, degrading public discourse, and contributing to our nation’s political balkanization.”

There was a time when such a public declaration would have received widespread, if not universal support from any faculty. There was a time when free speech and academic freedom were the touchstones of higher education. This is not that time.

Academics today work in an atmosphere of intolerance for any opposing or dissenting views on subjects ranging from DEI to police abuse to social justice campaigns. Those who speak out are often targeted by cancel campaigns. The threat is that dissenter will lose everything that academics need to be active intellectuals.

We recently passed the one-year anniversary of the move to force a criminology professor named Mike Adams off the faculty of the University of North Carolina (Wilmington). Adams was a conservative faculty member with controversial writings who had to go to court to stop prior efforts to remove him. He then tweeted a condemnation of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for his pandemic rules, tweeting that he had dined with six men at a six-seat table and “felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina” before adding: “Massa Cooper, let my people go.” It was a stupid and offensive tweet. However, we have seen extreme comments on the left — including calls to gas or kill or torture conservatives — be tolerated or even celebrated at universities.

Celebrities, faculty and students demanded that Adams be fired. After weeks of public pummeling, Adams relented and took a settlement to resign. He then killed himself a few days before his final day as a professor.

I have taught for decades and I have never witnessed the level of fear and intimidation among faculty in speaking out on controversial issues or even in support the free speech rights of embattled colleagues. There is a conscious effort by many to maintain a level of constant threat that dissenting views on subjects like DEI will be met with the loss of academic privileges, opportunity, and even employment. The Romps resignation is an example of defiance to that rising orthodoxy on our campuses.

There is an effort by alumni to support professors who are fighting for free speech and academic freedom. As discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal column, five alumni groups (at Cornell University, Davidson College, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and Washington and Lee University) have announced the creation of an organization to stand up for open inquiry. They are the Alumni Free Speech Alliance.

Alumni can play a critical role in filling the void left by university administrators and faculty in the defense of free speech. They supply the critical funds needed by these schools. More importantly, they are organizing to counter the anti-free speech movement on our campuses and across our country.

In the meantime, increasingly isolated figures like Romps remind us of what was once a common article of faith in higher education: academic freedom.



58 thoughts on “Berkeley Physicist Resigns After Colleagues Block UChicago Professor from Speaking at Science Event”

  1. Cuss words need to be censored. Pig Latin can be considered. The F word is ukFay. The poop word is itShay.
    Certain humans are so bad or evil that their names are cuss words. Some ex president named Donald umpTray. Adolph itlerHay.

  2. I will be interested to see if you address this latest govt crackdown on public speech by the FTC and online reviews. While I understand there is a glut of bogus reviews on Amazon and such this seems like a serious overreach and would make any business I think afraid of using any customer reviews. Here is a link to the article on this development and an excerpt; (that last one seems pretty vague)


    ” FTC Says It’s Cracking Down on Fake Reviews Online
    Published: Oct 18, 2021 by Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead In Small Business News

    In a bid to curtail the practice of fake online reviews, the FTC is sending out Notice of Penalty Offenses. The Notice of Penalty Offenses enables the FTC to seek penalties against a company that it knows has been unlawful in a previous FTC administrative order, other than a consent order.

    The notice warns a business of unlawful practices relating to the use of endorsements and testimonials. The notice informs a business that it could incur significant civil penalties – up to $43,792 per violation – if they use dishonest endorsement.

    The official letter lists the practices that the FCA determine to be deceptive or unfair in prior administrative cases. These practices include the false claiming of an endorsement by a third party, mispresenting whether an endorser is an actual, current or recent user, using an endorsement to make deceptive performance claims, failing to disclose an unexpected material connection with an endorser, and misrepresenting that the experience of endorsers represents consumers’ typical or ordinary experience. ”

  3. Diversity [dogma] (i.e. color judgment), not limited to racism, sexism, denies individual dignity, individual conscience, intrinsic value, and normalizes color blocs (e.g. the racist designation “people of color”), color quotas (e.g. Jew… White privilege), and affirmative discrimination (e.g. cancel culture). Critical Racists’ Theory presumes diversity [dogma]. Not quite the wicked solution, but still one step forward, two steps backward.

  4. Turley says:

    “There is a conscious effort by many to maintain a level of constant threat that dissenting views on subjects like DEI will be met with the loss of academic privileges, opportunity, and even employment.”

    As I have mentioned heretofore, Conservative Law Professor John Eastman has lost his jobs at Law Schools on account of his memo to Mike Pence suggesting that he could interrupt the Electoral Count in Congress:

    WHY oh why hasn’t Turley come to his defense for the loss of his “academic privileges, opportunity, and even employment” on account of his “dissenting views?”

    WHY the silence? There must be a reason such a prominent Trumpist lawyer is being thrown under the bus by Turley. Any ideas?

    Here’s one: maybe Turley actually agrees with this legal analysis of Eastman’s bogus memo and his bad faith conduct:

    Perhaps, Turley is afraid to take a public stand against a prominent Trump lawyer and expose himself to the same Trumpist vilification and lies which happened to Liz Cheney when she dared to speak the truth.

  5. “Berkeley Physicist Resigns After Colleagues Block UChicago Professor from Speaking at Science Event”

    – Professor Turley

    Read: Berkeley Physicists Nullify, Deny Constitution – Acting As Dictatorial, Totalitarian Communists

    Boston Tea Party – December 16, 1773

    American Revolution – July 4, 1776

    That only took three years.

    What’s the holdup?

    George Washington assembled an army to secure freedom.

    The standing U.S. Army is securing communism?

    What the heck are America’s leaders waiting for?

    Where’s George Washington when America needs him?

  6. Diversity (i.e. color judgment) , inequity, and exclusion (DIE) breeds adversity. #HateLovesAbortion

    That said, diversity of individuals, minority of one. Baby Lives Matter (BLM)


      Diversity, equity and inclusion are nowhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights and America achieved greatness in the absence of diversity.

      Foreigners are not the American taxpayer’s burden.

      Africa, Haiti and Mexico are still in the Third World.

      They thrive on invading the U.S., wholly unconstitutional USAID, redistribution of wealth, affirmative action and milquetoast Americans suffering phantom guilt.

  7. The Alt-Left is now simply the Left. Division, Hate, Intolerance, Lies, Smear Campaigns, Manufactured Hoaxes, etc. You are either part of the problem or we will make people believe you are…

  8. Keep this in mind. Progressive leftists decided to escalate into cancel tactics because they knew they were losing in venues of meritocratic argument. All we need to do is to remain non-violent, non-ad-hominem, non-paranoid, and press our advantage in writing and speaking to the issues. Leadership based on honesty, courage and integrity is the coin of the realm, and so long as that remains intact, our country will prevail over the current media-fed neuroses.

    1. Pbinca says:

      “Leadership based on honesty, courage and integrity is the coin of the realm, and so long as that remains intact, our country will prevail over the current media-fed neuroses.”

      Wishful thinking bordering on delusion.

  9. There are those of us who acknowledge that many of our fellow citizens, much too many, have reverted to beasts and as such we take due precaution before deciding to engage or challenge them. The good professor did exhibit a profile in courage. It is also apparent that there is a huge power grab riding in on the backs of these beastial mobs while we sit by and observe them deliver one blow after another to American jurisprudence and it’s institutions.


    “There Was an Insurrection Last Week and No One Noticed”

    “Remember the shocking footage of protesters who chanted obscenities as they broke into and vandalized a federal building and attacked police in an apparent insurrection? You should, because it happened last week. Last Thursday, a mob of climate activists got violent and broke into the Department of the Interior, in what some would call an insurrection—if it had involved Trump supporters. “Multiple injuries were sustained by security personnel, and one officer has been transported to a nearby hospital. Medics representing both the Department and the protesters were present,” Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said in a statement. “Interior Department leadership believes strongly in respecting and upholding the right to free speech and peaceful protest. Centering the voices of lawful protesters is and will continue to be an important foundation of our democracy,” her statement continued. “It is also our obligation to keep everyone safe. We will continue to do everything we can to de-escalate the situation while honoring first amendment rights.”

    No condemnation of political violence was made.

    Despite the violence, injuries, and apparent insurrection, the Washington Post described the incident as a “clash” between climate activists and security personnel.

    Police and climate activists “clashed” Thursday during protests at the Interior Department, with security personnel sustaining “multiple injuries” and one officer being taken to a hospital, agency spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said.

    Climate demonstrators were attempting to occupy the Interior Department, with dozens entering the Stewart Lee Udall Main Interior Building on C Street NW. Those who remained outside clashed with police as they tried to keep the one unlocked door open. At times, protesters attempted to push past the police line.

    The protesters were here for People vs. Fossil Fuels, five days of demonstrations by a coalition of groups known as Build Back Fossil Free that has included Indigenous leaders from across the country. The coalition’s name is a nod to President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda.

    Oh, they were advocating for Biden’s climate agenda, were they? Does that mean Biden incited the insurrection? Perhaps an October 14 Commission should be established and Joe Biden’s supporters should be locked up without trial.

    But, no, none of that will happen. Chances are good that most people don’t even know about the mob that broke into the Department of the Interior, or that people were hurt in the name of Biden’s climate agenda. This mob will not be criticized as an “attack on our democracy.”

    – PJ Media

    1. The hypocrisy of evil is palpable. Only we the people uniting will stop this demonic takeover.

      1. By demonic takeover, are you referring to the historical illegal alien invasion, which began when Lincoln failed to deport the freed slaves who became illegal aliens upon the issuance of the emancipation proclamation as contemporary immigration law required citizens to be “…free white person(s)…,” and has continued through the endless illegal alien Mexicans to the current illegal alien Haitians et al.?

  11. The left is off its rocker, but then so are the left’s leaders. In defense of our nation Pelosi stands up with a fork in her hand. That is what she finds important, not freedom of speech.
    Mark Meadows: Pelosi asked about ‘lunch’ for Congress members during Jan. 6 Capitol riot

    Trump “had asked for up to 10,000 National Guard troops to be available” to the speaker and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser,” … they did not take him up on that.”


    1. Until these Marxist Communist are removed and charged with treason, crimes against humanity on and on. We will never have Freedom.
      United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

  12. Professors:. Tell the controllers of your university: Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down that wall!
    Professors:. Pull out now. Like your father’s should have.

  13. I wonder when being silent will not be enough for these teachers to be cancelled.
    “We notice Mr. Smith that you have not been attending any of our “equity” rallies. I have in front of me a petition from frightened and hurt students asking for your resignation.”
    “But I haven’t said anything controversial for either side.”
    “Yes, we are well aware of that Mr. Smith, your silence makes you the worst kind of racist.”

      1. As a kid growing up in the 70’s I would ask my parents, “Why would anyone vote for communism?” seeing how bad and evil things in the U.S.S.R. were. I guess we are seeing how it happens. It’s quite sickening and helpless feeling.

  14. Remember Justice Brandeis? “If there be time to expose through discussion, the falsehoods and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.” Whitney v. California (1927). Counterspeech is the answer

    1. Nice catch. Non-lawyer here so I relish these types of legal insights.

      And here is a Lesbian Jew who has more Chutzpah than any Democrat Jew in Congress. Bravo Bari Weiss!


      We Got Here Because of Cowardice. We Get Out With Courage

      Bari Weiss

      Let me offer the briefest overview of the core beliefs of the Woke Revolution….Facts are replaced with feelings. Ideas are replaced with identity. Forgiveness is replaced with punishment. Debate is replaced with de-platforming. Diversity is replaced with homogeneity of thought. Inclusion, with exclusion.In this ideology, speech is violence. But violence, when carried out by the right people in pursuit of a just cause, is not violence at all. In this ideology, bullying is wrong, unless you are bullying the right people, in which case it’s very, very good. In this ideology, education is not about teaching people how to think, it’s about reeducating them in what to think

        1. I only recently learned of Ms. Weiss when I read about her incredible “take this job and shove it” resignation letter to NYT publisher A. G. Sulzberger.

          Since her resignation, she and other liberal journalists like her, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Andrew Sullivan, etc have increased their net worth by writing for Substack, amassing a sizable list of subscribers, by doing what true journalists do: write objective investigative journalism. Not surprisingly, the elitist media have tried to cancel these talented journalists because they make them look like propagandists. Keep your eyes on them.

          1. Estovir says:

            “Not surprisingly, the elitist media have tried to cancel these talented journalists because they make them look like propagandists. Keep your eyes on them.”

            While you are at it. Keep you eye on Newsmax, One America Network and Infowars. These networks are attacking Fox News from the Right because Fox has cancelled any coverage of Trump’s claim that the election was stolen. Trumpist lawyers are banned on Fox. These networks criticize Fox for being too mainstream! Fox does not fight back against the rise of its competitors on the Right. Rather, it ignores them and attacks the MSM exclusively. Fox does not want to give the far Right networks any attention by acknowledging their existence.

    2. Brandies says:

      “If there be time to expose through discussion….”

      Suppose there is no opportunity to expose through discussion, that is, when 1/2 the country gets their information exclusively from Fox News, Newsmax, Infowars and the other 1/2 from the MSM? And neither side looks to the other side for information.

      What then?

      1. And then the other half gets their news from CNN, MSNBC, and the legacy media, none of which of famous for their recent standards of honesty and integrity

        Truth will out. There is always time for speech.

      2. You raise a valid point about adversarial informatics — infowarfare campaigns can be ginned up in hours, while the truth requires investigatory time, money, cooperation and faces privacy-wall obstacles. So, Justice Harlan’s “the solution to bad information is more information” is naive to first-strike advantage, which has accelerated since “anyone can publish” became a reality.

        The FDA Law of 1938 demonstrates a success model in taming fraudulent infowarfare in the medical cures, drugs and devices arena. It defines the terms for making a scientifically-supportable medical claim down to itsy-bitsy details, has the power to remove unfounded products from the marketplace, and in effect, censors medical misinformation through a deterrent system which could be called “prior restraint”. What’s good is that it’s a rule-based system, with strong anti-corruption measures built in, and works mostly through deterrence and forced-discipline rather than ex-post-facto punishments.

        There’s been virtually no backlash to the FDA approval process in the 83 years we’ve had it. It made the USA the capital of world health care and scientific medicine R&D.

        If we focussed on defamation torts as a more appropriate vehicle for countering deceitful infowarfare (think the Nicholas Sandman case), we could bring some self-discipline to the publishing (posting) of information. We’d need specialized Rapid-Response Defamation Courts, and a reversal of the Sullivan decision, and reform of Section 230.

        We’re working with very fast media processes when thinking about deceitful infowarfare, so countermeasures must work as fast or faster. Deterrence offers that element of speed, since it interrupts and traps impulses to veer off into untruths at their earliest stages.

        1. Pbinca says:

          “We’d need specialized Rapid-Response Defamation Courts, and a reversal of the Sullivan decision, and reform of Section 230.”

          I agree. In addition, if the defamation lawsuits brought by Dominion and Smartmatic against Turley’s Fox News are litigated and not settled out of court, there is a chance that a new legal precedent could be established in which broadcasters are not absolved of malice for reporting an individual’s misinformation which they have not vetted with due diligence. Broadcasters should be held accountable for anything they publish on-air regardless of the source of that information.

        2. The FDA “made the USA the capital of world health care and scientific medicine R&D.”


          America became a great producer of pharmaceutical products because of the achievements of scientists and managers at private companies, such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Bristol, Myers. Regulatory agencies produce nothing — and in fact only impede the creation and marketing of life-saving drugs and medical devices.

  15. Romps stated:

    “… I was hoping we could agree that BASC does not consider an individual’s political or social opinions when selecting speakers for its events, except for cases in which the opinions give a reasonable expectation that members of our community would be treated with disrespect.”

    An individual’s political or social opinion is one thing, but as Romps points out, where “opinions give a reasonable expectation that members of our community would be treated with disrespect,” that is quite another!

    When an individual *lies* in bad faith, is there anything MORE disrespectful? Giuliani and Sidney Powell lied about there being massive voter fraud which got them permanently banned on Fox News. You have not seen them on Fox for months, have you?

    Turley has NOT criticized his network’s decision to censor them because he believes that liars OUGHT to be banned by Little Brother (if not Big Brother). Turley need not tell us so; his total SILENCE about Giuliani’s and Powell’s *cancellation* says it all…

    1. Jeff,
      Just wanted to extend this courtesy. I am taking a break and possibly leaving this blog. I have enjoyed are repartee. My reason for this action is it has become just too exhausting .I was going to list some of my frustrations but that would just be an exercise in futility. I also have an upcoming surgery.
      When I started my business I basically did everything. Except the accounting .I know I am dating myself but I have never balanced my checkbook. One of the things that I had to do was accounts receivable. And after a few invoices were sent with no response, that warranted a phone call from me. I knew that I was going to hear some excuse for non payment. So I knew I had to be a little forceful and sometimes ” mean”. In order for me to put myself in a ” mean” mood I would read a certain columnist in The Chicago Sun Times who always infuriated me. I am getting that same feeling from this blog on many occasions. I don’t need to put myself in that mood anymore. If I want to I can just watch certain networks.
      Thank you for your respectful discourse.
      I will check in from time to time to reiterate my dinner offer. I don’t live in Chicago anymore. I live in the suburb of Highland Park. If you come here you probably won’t get shot or carjacked. And if you do I am in Lake County, not Cook so at least if that happens your assailants might be prosecuted. Sorry I couldn’t help myself. But you better hurry. I think that this will be my last winter here. We will be looking for property in Florida this winter.
      You have shown some interest in my wagering. For the first time this year I am up. I still have lost in college every week. But I have done much better in the pros. As of this week I am up $152. I sent every penny to the Younkin campaign .My wish is that race will be the first domino to fall. I am sure you don’t agree but that is ok.
      I take solace in the fact that we have reached agreement on a few things. You said that I am not a ” trumpist” . Which coming from you is the ultimate compliment.
      You said that Jan. 6 was NOT an insurrection. And you agreed with me that Biden is in obvious cognitive decline. That took balls on your part. And I respect that.
      Be well. Stay safe. And I think you said you were an atheist, but, God Bless.

      1. “probably won’t get shot or carjacked?” way to flaunt your white privilege. .

        1. Just a statement of fact. And I wasn’t addressing you ass**le. And any privilege I have I worked for.

      2. Paul,

        I hope your health improves. Yes, we did reach some agreement, and I am certain that we could achieve more common ground were we to break bread and imbibe some social lubricants. I trust that you will check-in here from time to time to keep in touch. You know where to find me- battling the Trumpists single-handily if it comes to that. And good luck with your wagering. If you come across inside information on any fixed games, let me know! I will lay a bet if it is a sure thing! Take care, my friend.

        1. Jeff, take care. If there is one thing that I have learned in 50 years of gambling, there is no such thing as a sure thing. And I am always open to ” imbibe in some social lubricants”. Hoping for an Atlanta Braves World Series participation. I root against any team that is from a state that borders the Pacific Ocean. And it would be justice if the World Series was held in Atlanta after no guts Manford moved the All-Star Game out of that city for political reasons.
          Keep up the good fight.

    2. is there anything MORE disrespectful? Giuliani and Sidney Powel

      I can’ find those name anywhere in the post. I’ll give you the benefit of doubt and assume you posted to the wrong article. Not a troll lacking elementary level reading capabilities.

      1. Iowan,

        The Hawkeyes sucked last game. What happened? I like the Hawkeyes, but their coach is a little too conservative.

    3. jeffsilberman — Will you please stop with the “gotcha” nonsense. There are so many examples of lying on both sides — how about 4 years of Russiagate, for example? — that it’s just stupid to start pulling out issues that Turley doesn’t mention. Grow up.

      1. Giocon1 says:

        “Will you please stop with the “gotcha” nonsense. There are so many examples of lying on both sides —“

        You may point out Leftist lying, and I will continue to point out Trumpist lying. I will also continue to note Turley’s hypocrisy. If my doing so makes you feel uncomfortable, good, it should.

  16. We are getting tired of the PC Nazis.

    Tomorrow or next year, the pendulum will start swinging back.

    Some day, this will be remembered as similar to the McCarthy era – shameful and inexplicable as to how the Lefty Nazis were ever tolerated.

    1. Monument,

      You can say that again: Trumpism will be long remembered just like McCarthyism. The lies of Trumpism and those that spread those lies will never be forgiven nor forgotten as long as this Republic endures.

      1. Dig in deeper with Biden!!! We are all laughing at you progressives who are regressing us back to segregation, division and hate.

      2. McCarthy was right about the commie underbelly, just as Trump is right about the deep state swamp.

    2. As far as I know “getting tired” of anything never was a effective counter-offense. 🙂

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