“Stick to Prescribed Messaging”: Mayo Clinic Suspends Professor for Comments on Trans-Athletes

The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine has joined the growing crackdown on free speech in higher education after suspending Professor Michael Joyner for comments in a 2022 New York Times story. In the story, Joyner maintained that there are differences between biological males and females in sports that give advantages to certain trans-athletes. The school declared that Joyner was guilty of using “ideomatic language” and threatened his termination unless he refrains from public comments in the future without approval from the school.
 Joyner’s told the Times that “you see the divergence immediately as the testosterone surges into the boys” and that these biological realities can produce “dramatic differences in performances.”Notably, that is the view of many athletic organizations. For example, track and field competitions recently adopted restrictions based on similar conclusions.

The faculty was not happy when Joyner was widely quoted for telling the Times that “there are social aspects to sport, but physiology and biology underpin it… testosterone is the 800-pound gorilla.”  As noted  by Inside Higher Ed, the comments were picked up by various other media outlets as part of the ongoing controversy involving swimmer Lia Thomas.

The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine sent him a disciplinary letter that mandated that, in the future, he “vet each individual media request through Public Affairs including follow-up requests; allow them to do their job as they determine what topics are appropriate and are responsible for protecting Mayo Clinic’s brand and reputation… cease engagement in offline conversations with reporters,” and “discuss approved topics only and stick to prescribed messaging.”

Ordering faculty to ” stick to prescribed messaging” raises serious questions of academic freedom and free speech. Yet, while conservative sites have raised concerns, faculty members (including his colleagues at Mayo) are again conspicuously silent.  The  American Association of University Professors (AAUP) should be pursuing this matter with vigor. The 1915 AAUP Declaration called for the protection of both free speech and academic privilege. The Declaration stressed the guarantee of “unfettered discussion” free of the “prescribed inculcation of a particular opinion upon a controverted question.”

Likewise, the influential writer Roscoe Pound long ago objected to the idea that professors should “keep quiet or confine himself to classroom discussion on such subjects seems to me distinctly against the public interest.” He added:

“I do not see why the university professor should be restrained in any way in the discussion of any subject of public interest which comes within the scope of his studies . . . If he conducts his discussion as a scholar should, the fact that at the same time he makes a vigorous and possibly effective presentation of his views to the public ought not to be taken against him . . . In short, I think the scholars in this country have been altogether too meek.”

Mayo’s actions in this case are deeply troubling, and all professors should question the demand to adhere to “prescribed messaging” by an academic institution.

Here is the letter sent to Dr. Joyner.

81 thoughts on ““Stick to Prescribed Messaging”: Mayo Clinic Suspends Professor for Comments on Trans-Athletes”

  1. The French philosopher and essayist, Julien Benda, published “The Treason of the Intellectuals” in 1927 at a time in history that is firmly in the throes of being repeated once again. He wrote of a time some one hundred years ago when those who had for so long before freely engaged in critical thinking, research, and reflection about the reality of society, and who then proposed free of politics solutions for the normal problems of society. Having for so long engaged themselves in leading people to be objective and rational in resolving their issues, the intellectuals began to immerse themselves in the unsettling practical and material world of joining the passions which cause persons to rise up against other persons.

    The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine was surely once an intellectual institution, but it appears now that the bureaucrats who manage its affairs have immersed it in the unsettling practical and material world of joining the passions which cause persons to rise up against other persons. It is promising that Professor Michael Joyner might still pursue his role as an intellectual, but without the full and open support of his peers it is unlikely he will be able to do so without considerable sacrifice.

  2. The trans movement is just a species of Marxism.
    – Remove norms you want to control until you control it
    – The idea of being normal is a form of private property
    – The normal have access to this private property through
    Acting like a man
    Acting like a woman
    Being heterosexual
    – Trans movement is the abolition of normal
    – Awaken a gender consiousness. Underclass must fight back and seize the means of “normalism”

  3. Nothing new to see here folks. The Mayo clinic says “If we want your opinion we’ll tell you what it is.” Every Trans operation costs $73,000 and the follow up drugs will be required for a lifetime. When it comes to the money “do no harm” takes a back row seat to mutilation and a lifetime of drug dependency. At least a drug dealer starts em out with a little taste for free.

  4. Just as US Representative Crenshaw asked – please show us the mounds of scientific studies that verify this transgender nonsense. Let’s see the actual scientific studies and related data that support the rational and scientific evidence that transgenderism is more than a societal tool for the prog/left to split this culture into even smaller segments of hatred.

  5. Need the following answered as I don’t waste my time with the NY Times and thus can’t access the article without a subscription.
    In the article cited, did Professor Michael Joyner in any way project himself as representing the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine? Did he clearly indicate that the view he was expressing was not necessarily that of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine?
    If Professor Michael Joyner did NOT make such a distinction, I could see why ANY institution would be concerned about views being expressed by an employee might be interpreted as those of the institution. That would be especially true the higher up in the food chain the employee was positioned in the institution.

  6. A prime example of totalitarian suppression of the truth. The experiment was COVID and they learned it worked!

  7. Some other points to consider in the Trans discussion. From a previous cardiopulmonary physiologist.
    A few points. Women’s lungs are about 10 % less than men in size for the same age and allowing for different size. Thats why you have to supply the sex, height, weight and sometimes race in someone who is having pulmonary function testing. All those factors apply. Much is genetic but some is cultural. Ie: don’t try to compare your lung size to a Pearl diver because you’ll lose.
    Men’s hearts are larger, their coronary arteries are larger. Women have heart disease at about the same rate as men but generally about 10 years later. Since their coronary arteries are smaller, they are less amenable to intervention and tend to have higher death rates with heart attacks. Small arteries are more difficult to stent and keep open than large arteries. It’s all about flow through the arteries. And so on.
    When ecg stress testing was first started years ago, it was noted that a positive stress test in a man was highly predictive of heart disease but very poor in women. Also Women’s symptoms were very different. A very positive stress ecg in a women would often reveal no heart disease at the time of a heart cath. Echocardiograms (sound wave pictures of the heart) were found to be far more predictive of heart disease in women and so for a time, you would do a stress echo on a women with possible heart disease and a stress ekg on a man. Eventually stress testing evolved to echocardiograms in both because it was more predictive in both sexes and you eliminated the sex discrepancy.
    So yes, women are different but nearly all of us already know that.

  8. “. . . responsible for protecting Mayo Clinic’s brand and reputation . . .”

    I hear that Dylan Mulvaney is looking for a job. Maybe Mayo can hire it to protect its brand.

  9. “[T]here are differences between biological males and females in sports . . .”

    So for stating an obvious biological fact, the professor was punished.

    So much for the Left being the “party of science.” It is the party of Lysenkoism.

    1. Sam is exactly correct. We are now in the age of neo-Stalinist science. The triumph of totalitarian politics over scientific inquiry and debate will set back life sciences decades as it did in the USSR. The notion that a professor is punished for stating an obvious scientific fact demonstrates how demented our society has become in the last decade The west is doomed if this continues

  10. As a physician, this is not a surprising statement to me. Medical School faculties and Large Medical Groups have to toe the line and have been required to do so for many years, lest you “embarrass” the school or Group with your pronouncements and behaviors. Almost all have “safeguards” against “abusive language” and “actions”. Most of these evolved over the decades because of behavior problems by physicians in and out of operating rooms as well as in front of patients, and treatment of staff. Physicians are not generally known to be “shrinking violets” and some have been boisterous and outrageous in their personal actions. Throwing things in the OR, screaming at nurses or assistants, threatening behavior around women employees (about 90% of medical employees are women) have all been things to deal with. Then there is drinking on the job and using drugs are also a problem. Having been on Clinic Boards, Hospital Boards, Chief of the medical staff in Hospitals and County medical society president , those are the major things they deal with. Aberrant behavior is less and less because of movements to reign in the most egregious offenders. Medical societies at state and local levels have wide ranging courses on intervening with senile, incompetent, abusive physicians. So the infrastructure is all there.
    It appears this School is using that process, built for other problems, to stifle discussion and speech. They never actually say the professor is wrong, as far as I could tell. A lot of padding to say “don’t do that again or you’re fired”. You see similar types of suppression of disagreement in groups as the get larger and larger and get taken over by corporations, larger medical groups or medical schools (to maintain their referral base). They are less and less tolerant of individuals who speak out or say they are wrong or “I disagree”. “Insubordination” is a new term used more and more in medicine, to our detriment. A lot of this is due to the accreditation process of medical schools. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education accredits US medical schools and their policy is presently to push the Trans Agenda, and DEI agenda. You want change, then start there.

  11. Those who are in a cult don’t know they are in a cult nor do they realize that they are brainwashed. They are plugged into the Matrix and unless they are “red pilled” they will continue to exist in their blissful delusions.

    How dare anyone commit the the egregious act of thinking for themselves!! How dangerous!

    1. E.M.
      If you believe a biological man should be allowed to compete in women’s sports you just might be a cultist.
      Or a leftist.
      They are the same thing.

  12. I listened to this argument/question recently.

    – Do we teach physics to 2nd graders?
    – No, it is too complex.
    – And yet you feel fine in teaching something as complex as climate change with an almost infinite variable set to second graders.
    – Well, climate change is important!
    – And physics is not?

    So you have to ask yourself, for what other reason than indoctrination and fear, would you push climate change to a 2nd grader.

      1. Thanks Jim,
        My larger point, the left always pushes the scientific consensus, on climate change. First the had to skew the stats by allowing the assumption, that all scientist in a scientific society, agree on a singular topic. Just because the Director issues a statement does not mean all the members agree.

        But even individual scientist will skew their language when grants are the rewards. If the powers that be at Mayo, demand unanimity from their Doctors, that is the end of science. It has passed into propaganda, the homeopathic gurus show more honesty and integrity than Mayo.
        The horse is out of the barn concerning their reputation. Their reputation now is equal to Carnival Barker.

        1. Don’t you just love the oxymoron of “scientific consensus”? The fact that they would even use the words as an argument let alone not knowing how the “consensus” was derived tells all you need to know about them.

  13. These people are training our future doctors to not know there are differences between men and women. There are times when being a boomer is comforting.

    1. Yes, this is the part that should scare us. As well as the ivy league schools that are pushing out lawyers who will become the next set of judges that don’t believe in our inalienable rights.

    2. These people are training our future doctors to not know there are differences between men and women.

      Hopefully that can only be taken so far. It’s like teaching mechanics there’s no difference between standard and metric bolts.

      The bigger concern is a loss of trust. To your point, I’m a boomer as well. I prefer my doctor to have started practicing last century.

          1. Olly,

            I read your past post about the three legs of the Root causes. I think we have touched on this before. Couldn’t Civics Apathy be replaced with The Ability to Pass Judgement? If a society does not pass any judgement then anything goes and no one is held up to any standard, including our own civics. Also, what about the ability to discriminate? Without this ability, one can never be a free man.

            1. If a society does not pass any judgement then anything goes and no one is held up to any standard, including our own civics.

              Jim, we already have plenty of judgment and discrimination happening all around us every day. The problem is it is woefully lacking in right reason.

              I see going through the process of becoming civics literate more important than actually being civics literate. For example, anyone can read the DoI, but when they dive in to understand the definition and context of each word, it takes the student on a journey that develops in them a connection with the generation that produced it.

  14. Again, facts are not protected speech. Fallacy is. Thus do empires crumble into dust.

    1. iowan2, climate change is currently due to too much carbon dioxide in the climate. The science of climatology studies all the various factors which make up climate. There are many introductory textbooks whereby you might begin learning this fascinating subject.

      1. “Clouds, which can block the sun or trap its radiation, are rarely mentioned in climate talk.

        “Why? Because clouds are notoriously difficult to model in climate simulations. Steven Koonin, a New York University professor and author of “Unsettled,” tells me that today’s computing power can typically model the Earth’s atmosphere in grids 60 miles on a side. Pretty coarse. So, Mr. Koonin says, “the properties of clouds in climate models are often adjusted or ‘tuned’ to match observations.” Tuned!”

        “A 2001 Lindzen paper, however, suggests that high-level cirrus clouds in the tropics dissipate as temperatures rise. These thinning cirrus clouds allow more heat to escape. It’s called the Iris Effect, like a temperature-controlled vent opener for an actual greenhouse so you don’t (existentially) fry your plants. Yes, Earth has a safety valve.”


        1. S. M., Lindzen’s so-called Iris Effect has been shown to be false.

          Goto Real Climate. At the top left is a button marked Start Here. Start there.

            1. S; M. — You have no idea what you are talking about. Go learn something about the topic @ Start Here.

              1. David, you say dumb things like that to many people on the blog, but when we review your words they are either meaningless, like the above, or wrong.

                1. S. Meyer: Stop being a Not Nothing. Start learning a little climatology. In great detail:
                  Use your search engine to find the Real Climate blog. Go to the home page thereof.
                  The the upper left hand corner there is a ‘button’ marked Start Here. Click on that.

                  Was that enough explanation for you, being the 3rd time?

                  Also, I don’t make mistakes, or if I do, I always correct such.
                  Stop Just Making Stuff Up.

                  1. “Use your search engine to find the Real Climate blog.”

                    David, your research ability is horrendous. I watched you screw up your math and physics by arguing with John Say.

                    “Also, I don’t make mistakes, or if I do, I always correct such.”

                    You cannot recognize your mistakes so there is no way for you to correct them.

                    All you can do is link to garbage.

                    1. S. Meyer, you are incapable of judging. My math and science was and is correct. John Say had it wrong, wrong, wrong.

                      Since you can’t seem to find a simple link, here it is:

                    2. DBB,
                      You lost that debate – horribly.
                      Your mathematical abilities suck.
                      You tried to win an argument over mathematics by debating definitions and grammar.
                      You do not seem to be smart enough to grasp that is not possible,

                      It is irrelevant what words are used to describe a mathematical relationship – that relationship is either present, or in this case absent.
                      Worse still – your semantic argument was ALSO wrong.

                      Then you failed to grasp that Plank, SB and Arrhenius are all different expressions of the same fundamental physics of the relationship between temperature and energy.

                      Do you think the passage of time will change anything ?

                      And you think that citing climate propoganda is helpful ?

                      The cult of warmism has FAILED dramatically and repeatedly.

                      The test of whether a claim is good science is its ability to first hindcast the past – which as David Romer proved about a decade ago is trivial given sufficient variables, and the ulitimate test accurately forecasting.

                      Warmists have NEVER been able to do that. Today they play games by manipulating the base point to try to visually game the error.
                      But that is just deceipt – like the “hide the decline” game that Mann engaged in to hide the fact that his temperature proxy clearly WASN’T during a significant portion fo the calibration period, meaning that his hindcast was meaningless.

                      Global Temps today are more than 2.5 std dev’s off off predictions. The error is even greater if we use predictions from the 80’s or 90’s

                      Nothing Warmists have predicted has been true.

                      And we are left with the idiocy of the left claiming nearly a century of bad forest management or normal weather is actually evidence of “climate change”.

                      Just the change in terminology is damning. Climate is ALWAYS changing. Substantial portions of Greenland were Green 900 years ago.

                      Regardless, can you name a single malthusian prognostication since … Mathus that has been correct ?

                      Nostradamus is better are predicting than cult scientists.

                      WE are in the midst of another era in which religion and ideology have permeated many sciences such that followers engage in ever more complicated efforts to force fit reality to ideology. The Galleleos have come forward and proven you wrong – and still you persist.

                      Your arrogance and ignorance are unbounded.

                    3. David, you can link but cannot do math or physics, and your ability to research is abysmal. My math and physics were good enough to see how your mind works; poorly, along with seeing your gross scientific errors.

                    4. Every single Climate model has overshot US Cornbelt warming

                      The LEAST error is 50%, the greatest is 1000% most are over 500%


                      When error is always in the same direction – ideology and bias are at play.

                      Climate models can not be trusted until the as many models undershoot as overshoot.
                      And the error bars are approximately balanced +-.

                      When the error is always in one direction – the science is corrupt.

                    5. global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for May 2023 was +0.37 deg. C departure from the 1991-2020 mean. This is up from the April 2023 anomaly of +0.18 deg. C.

                      That is 0.1C/decade – the same as the prior 250 years.

                    6. John Say & S. Meyer — When you can solve at least 1/2 of the exercises in Chapter 6 of Ray Pierrehumbert’s Principles of Planetary Atmospheres then get back to me. As it is, you spout stuff made up by those who have ‘gone emeritus’ as we politely say.

                    7. David, when you pass a test in remedial logic given to those who don’t know anything and can’t learn, come back to us.

                    8. DB,

                      I have no problems with Math or science. I am not going to tout my own abilities. What I have written speaks for itself.
                      What you have written speaks to you abilities or lack thereof.

                      With respect to your text – With very few exceptions the basic science is not in debate.
                      What has been eviscerated is coefficients to equations that have absolutely no basis in evidence.

                      The planet is NOT behaving as the warmist cult predicts. Is that because CO2 is not a GHG ? No.
                      But it is without any doubt at all because warmists have erred somewhere.

                      It is not my responsibility to prove WHERE your error is. Proper science does not even require me to prove you and yours wrong

                      It requires YOU and them to prove you are right.

                      There is no such thing as science that is unconnected with reality.
                      We do not live in an alternate reality.
                      I am hard pressed to think of a single warmist prediction that has come true.

                      But you are not ludicrously wrong because left wing nut idiots have claimed such things as the arctic would be free of ice – pick any year from about 1998 forward.
                      Alot – but unfortunately not all of that is idiotic hype by nitwits on the left – not scientists.

                      But the Global Climate models are the work of scientists. I would further note they are also computer programs – an area I have 1000 times more expertise than your text author.

                      And computer modeling is absolutely critical to Climate Science, Because while the basic science is not all that complex, The climate itself is a chaos system. It probably is not possible to model. But even if it were it is not possible to model with the computer systems that we have today. We can do weather predictions – which are vastly simpler than climate models only for a few days into the future with massively increasing error bars.

                      I am not familiar with your specific text. What I am familiar with is that nothing consequential regarding even weather much less climate can be performed without the most powerful super computers in existence. It is not that the calculations are difficult – it is that the calculations are near infinite in number and interactions.

                      Climate is the perfect example for David Romer’s PROOF that in any system that you are modeling giving sufficient variables and sufficient coefficients that must be determined. You can have small (or large) errors and still perfectly hindcast, while rapidly going off the rails in forecasting.

                      It is my beleif – supported by a great deal of evidence that warmists VASTLY overestimate the climate sensitivity to CO2 – something we can only derive by modeling and comparing models to reality. I think the evidence that warmists over estimate that by an order of magnitude is compelling.

                      But I could be wrong – YOUR failure could be elsewhere, it could be a failure to grasp that positive feedback systems – which warmists claim CO2 is are incredibly rare. Systems with consequential positive feedback systems do not survive for 10’s of years much less billions.

                      Regardless – it is not my job to prove Where you are wrong – though I have done an excellent job of exposing fundamental errors.
                      It is not even my job to prove THAT you are wrong – though the earth has done that quite well.

                      It is the obligation of science to prove THAT it is correct. And warmists have failed.

                      Nor should this be surprising. Particle physics or cosmology problems are simpler than climate. And physicists are past the hubris of believing that they can predict subattomic particle behavior to the degree that climate scientist think they can predict future climate.

                      Finally, not only are you obviously wrong on the science, but you insist on taking science where it does not belong.

                      Science tells us when we are lucky, how the world behaves. It does not and can not tell us how the world SHOULD behave.
                      Science CAN NOT tell us what choices is RIGHT – EVER. It can not tell us whether I warmer world is a better world, Only – if we are lucky, what a warmer world would be like.

                      Over the past 20 years – the very period in which warmists have claimed the earth is becoming unihabitably warm, Tens of millions of people in the US have been moving from colder regions to warmer ones.

                      People have CHOSEN to live places that are more than 10F warmer than where they came from.

                      The Human race was born in the tropical regions of the world – we left those regions because they are also where deadly parasites and diseases are the worst.
                      Increasingly humans have the ability to make those regions safer and many are chosing to return.

                      Not only have you botched the science, But you have tried to claim as science control of choices that are vlaue judgements that have nothing to do with science.

                    9. DB you specifically and most warmists have failed at fairly simple math and logic – 5th grade stuff.

                      Nor is your error limited to climate. We have seen this same fascist effort to use mangled science to control people surface quite clearly with Covid.

                      Unlike Climate – the basics of epideiology are quite simple, and most of the underlying mathematics can be done by humans with paper and pencil.

                      Yet, your cult of left wing nut experts inarguably got it all wrong. We have never stopped a respiratory virus once it got a toe hold EVER.

                      We have never stopped a disease with a transmission rate of 1.4 without dramatically being able to decrease its transmission rate.

                      Early in Covid – arround April 2020, doctors and nurses who were treating covid patients in hospitals who were using the best PPE known to man were still testing positive for Covid.

                      Simple math tells us that measures that are 90% effective per exposure are still worthless if the frequency of exposure is great enough.

                      But you and yours FAILED at simple math, imposing policies that not only did not work, but could not work.

                      If you can not be trusted to grasp the relatively simple pen and pencil math of Covid – in what world should you be trusted with the math that is beyond our most powerful super computers of Climate ?

                      Further beyond the math – you made the same error with Covid as you make with Climate. You fixate on a single measure, attempting to change it from data to moral truth. Your efforts to battle Covid have unarguably killed twice as many people – in the us and globally as died of Covid itself.

                      You missed the forest for the tress, and you do the same thing with Climate.

                      Not only are you utterly unable to predict what the future climate will be like. You are completely oblivious to the real costs of trying to change that, all rooted in a completely anti-scientific claim that changes is inherently evil.

                    10. Within the past few days It has been established that the first C19 patients – all worked in the Wuhan Institute of Virology as scientists doing gain of function research. This is several weeks before Covid was detected at the Wet markets miles away.

                      It is unlikely to be possible to prove beyond any doubt that C19 came from US funded Fain of Function research in China. But it is proven that the odds of a natural origen are very near zero, and the odds that covid was human created are near certainty.

                      Obviously the Chinese lied about this. Obviously Fauxi and those near him lied – though WRONG, these lies are understanding – those at fault are likely to do anything in their power to avoid blame – that is an excellent test of moral character – taking responsibility for the consequences of your own choices.

                      What is far more important is WHY did YOU, the left the media, not only believe these people – all with obvious reasons for lying. But why did you actively censor disagreement.

                      The left rants about the dangers of “disinformation” – but the worst source of disinformation is the left. Whether it is covid, or climate or the economy, or Russiagate, or pretty much any topic of consequence – the most damaging lies spread publicly originate with the left.

                      DB no one should trust you or those like you een about something so simple as when the sun will rise tomorrow.

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