Nobel laureate's talk at UI canceled after faculty backlash

Nobel laureate's talk at UI canceled after faculty backlash

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URBANA — Faculty objections have prompted the University of Illinois' Carl Woese Institute for Genomic Biology to drop plans for a talk next month by Nobel Laureate James Watson, who co-discovered the structure of DNA but has been castigated by fellow scientists for his discredited views on race and intelligence.

Watson had initially reached out to the UI institute to give a "narrowly focused scientific talk" about his cancer research in conjunction with a planned visit to a colleague's lab, institute Director Gene Robinson said Tuesday.

"We considered that carefully and decided to make plans to hold that lecture," Robinson said.

But when he announced the plans via email to colleagues at the institute, several professors raised objections — including on Twitter — and the lecture was canceled.

No date had been set for the lecture as "plans were just taking shape," he said.

Robinson said he wasn't surprised by the reaction.

"We tried to consider this very carefully in going forward, and different perspectives on the possibilities of him giving a science-based lecture," he said. "With respect to his past, the email that I sent out stated very clearly that we didn't condone any of his past comments, racist comments and sexist comments. And we noted that he had apologized and thought about all those very carefully.

"In hearing the faculty's concerns, we decided that the right thing to do was not to have the lecture," Robinson said.

The Chicago-born Watson, 89, is a molecular biologist and geneticist who in 1953 discovered the double-helix structure of the genetic material DNA along with Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin. It was described by some as the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century, and Watson and Crick later shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology. (Franklin died in 1958 and was therefore ineligible.)

But he has a history of racially insensitive comments — most notably during a book tour in 2007, when he told the Sunday Times of London that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really." He also said people who "have to deal with black employees find this not to be true."

The director of the National Institutes of Health, where Watson ran the Human Genome Project for years, called his comments "wrong from every point of view — not the least of which is that they are completely inconsistent with the body of research literature in this area," according to news reports.

Watson apologized, saying he didn't mean to characterize Africans as genetically inferior and that he was referring to geographically separated populations evolving differently. But he was suspended and later resigned from his post as longtime chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, though he retains ties to the lab.

'Why that's a bad idea'

UI Professor Kate Clancy, who studies biological anthropology, learned of the UI's plans for Watson's talk from a colleague and emailed Robinson immediately, asking "when and where to organize a protest."

She also began tweeting her opposition.

"So James 'not a racist in a conventional way' Watson invited himself to give a talk at @IGBIllinois. Here's why that's a bad idea," she tweeted, linking to two articles about Watson's controversial statements.

"I am ashamed to be faculty at @Illinois_Alma if they support @IGBIllinois's upcoming talk, and plan to organize against it," she tweeted.

Within an hour, the institute tweeted a response: "Thank you for making your concerns known. IGB takes these matters very seriously, and in light we have cancelled the lecture."

Robinson also wrote to Clancy, saying the lecture had been dropped.

Clancy said Watson, who also sold his Nobel Prize medallion a few years ago, "didn't apologize for everything," such as failing to credit Franklin for her work on DNA. In other speeches and interviews, Watson has said that thin people are more ambitious than fat people, that women scientists make it "more fun for the men" but are "probably less effective," and that genetic screening and engineering could be used as a potential cure for "stupidity."

"This is a guy who has a lot to be apologetic for. He does not really deserve a pre-eminent public university like our's sponsoring him for any sort of talk," she said.

'Tough call either way'

Robinson said free speech is a concern, but "I really respect the perspectives of the faculty who raised the concern. It was a tough call either way."

In his initial email, Robinson had invited faculty members to share any concerns about the upcoming talk.

"Given Dr. Watson's monumental contributions to science, we plan to host his talk in June," he wrote. "However, as many of you may well be aware, Dr. Watson does bring with him a history of controversial comments concerning such topics as race and gender. If you have any reservations and would like to discuss them with me, please know that I am available and willing to engage.

"We support Dr. Watson for his discovery and work, and believe that his remorse and subsequent apology to those groups he spoke against are genuine, but the IGB's stance is unchanged — we do not condone discrimination of any form, and the respect that we give to each individual in our community is paramount."

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Lostinspace wrote on May 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Oh, for heaven's sake!  Freedom of speech??

In that case, don't talk to me about academic freedom!!

Alexander wrote on May 16, 2017 at 8:05 pm

I find this most upsetting. It would have been a real pleasure to attend a living legend's lecture. For all of his mistakes, he actually did some real science.

Rocky7 wrote on May 16, 2017 at 8:05 pm

The real loser in this is the University of Illinois,  not Dr. Watson.

As for free speech, a friend of mine described another university campus as a place where 'free speech is only for liberals.'  In fact, I have heard several universities around the country decribed in this way. Pity.

CallSaul wrote on May 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm

The right to free speech does not include the right to be invited to speak anywhere, including where you're not wanted.

Where in the consitition does it guarantee the rights of reactionaries with unscientific and racist crackpot views to be invited to speak at major universities...?

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

Well I would say that many people wanted to hear from him -- perhaps even more than the vocal minority, but who knows.

Separately, while his comments about race were "uncivil", let's not pretend that you (nor I) know more than him concerning science and specifically genetics and intelligence etc. Suggesting that his ideas "unscientific" and he a "crackpot" belies your own argument. He is after all the living founder of modern genetics.

CallSaul wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

You have no idea how many people wanted to attend his talk and how many didn't. Certainly it seems the majority of the department didn't want to be associated with him.

His opinions aren't 'uncivil' --- they were unamibuously racist. Let's not use weasel words.

He early contributions in the field do not make him somehow infallible about anything. His quoted views --- in the article and elsewhere --- are on their face unscientific and even crackpot. 

That is why the scientists in the department want nothing to do with him. They don't want their university and their department to be seen as sponsoring him and his retrograde views.

His early work on DNA in no way excuse him from legitimate criticism of his very much mistaken --- and yes, very much unscientific --- views on race and gender or anything else.

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

In my response to you, I admit that I don't know how many people wanted to see him speak. In contrast, you seem to speak with great authority. That's why I can be sure you're not a scientist. You're a sematicist. 

"That is why the scientists in the department want nothing to do with him."

OK, please admit to yourself, if no one else, that you have no idea that this is true. His talk was scheduled before it was retracted.

Honestly, do you even know much about Watson's continuing research and his contributions post-double helix discovery? Do you actually know anything about genetics? Again, you don't have to admit it to me, but at least ask yourself before you take a "reactionary" standpoint, which is exactly what shutting him down is all about. 

CallSaul wrote on May 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

So what do the words 'it seems' in my second sentence mean to you (or is that me being a 'sematicist')?

What does it matter if it was contingently scheduled before the invitation was formally declined? 

The fact that I am not a geneticist does not somehow disqualify me from seeing the obvious unscientific nature of his retrograde views on race and gender.

And how exactly does opposing such retrograde equate with being reactinoary?

You're obviously willing to make authoritative pronouncements about whether I'm a scientist or not.

Are you representing yourself as a scientist?

I ask because your praise of the man seems to veer much closer to religious adoration than proper scientific skepticism.


Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

Your use of "it seems" is based on no evidence. All I know from this article is that ONE person (Clancy) objected wildly. Yet even then I don't say "it seems" only one person objects.

In contrast, my assessment of your scientific training was based on reading your writing and thinking about how you analyzed this situation. I'll leave it to you to decide what are my credentials (if any).

"Religious adoration": please -- right from the beginning I note his mistakes; that's not what a religious person (in this country anyway) does typically for their God.

Wouldn't it be more fun for him to come here and then you could try to talk to him directly about how hurtful his comments are? Better than talking to me.

CallSaul wrote on May 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

It's not based on 'no evidence,' despite your confident assertion. Where are the hordes of department people clammoring to have this guy talk there?

I'm not sure why you're being cagy about the simple question of whether you're a scientist or not.

Earlier you said his views were essentially beyond questioning by mere peoons such as you and I. However you want to characterize it, that's a pretty high pedestal.

No it wouldn't be more fun to speak to him personally. He's heard it all before and it's not my job to educate him anyway. It would be a taint on the department and the school to sponsor him.

Bottom line: he isn't coming and that's a good thing. No one, especially one who espouses retrograde views about other people based on biology, is above reproach.

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 9:05 pm

"no evidence": CallSaul, you should like this one: "There is no evidence for God. Response: you're wrong, there is evidence, where's the proof that there is no evidence? Therefore God exists." 

You've made the same logical fallacy.

Anyway, I admit I don't know if there are hordes of people in that department who want him to speak. In fact, I do not know there are hordes of people in *that department* who did *not* want him to speak. I *do* know the director made plans and therefore considered it seriously. 

I also admit I don't know if IGB contacted Watson with an affirmation that he would speak. If this was not the case then the argument that any institute has the right to decline any "self-invitation" is valid (if perhaps disagreeable to me). However, this is different if IGB did confirm to Watson that he would speak. That would show the evidence that people (presumably faculty) wanted him to speak. In which case those that object have every right to not show up.

"further explanation": Come'on man -- your analogy with inviting yourself to a church or whatever is not the same UNLESS they first accept you. Isn't that clear?

"pedestal": Same logical error you've made over and over again. I never said he was beyond reproach. That's non-scientific. I did say that he deserves some respect that he isn't some scientific "crackpot". The weight of his contributions should be considered in such an assessment of his expertise.

"not more fun": Too bad. What would you have said to him other than to say his views are retrograde and therefore unacceptable?

"Richard Spencer": (I think I'm responding to another comment of yours -- sorry if I got confused): Well, Richard Spencer is an expert of nothing to do with IGB, or, as far as I can tell, anything at all that can be quantified. However, if some faculty decided (at their own peril) to invite him to lecture in their department then I would support him speaking, even if many others would object, and even if I happen to disagree with him strongly. I still think that's what a university is about. 



rsp wrote on May 16, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Can we investigate everyone else's views now? And which views are the right ones for today? What about tomorrow?

JohnRalphio wrote on May 17, 2017 at 12:05 am

This is actually a great example of how freedom of speech is supposed to work. The department asked for feedback and concerns; several people expressed concern and that they didn't want Dr. Watson here; and the department listened to them and changed their minds. Awesome!

787 wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

A few people, who are easily offended, ruined it for everyone else...   

Unfortunately, that's how it works today.  The easily offended few scream and yell, the administrators don't have any spine and cater to them, and then everyone else loses out.

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

I disagree. You think this is a great example because you happen to agree with those "several" people who blocked Watson's talk. Wait until the blockers are people you disagree with. What about all the people who wished for him to speak? We don't know the relative proportion of people who would have been so happy to have him visit. Maybe Prof. Clancy can do a survey to find out.

Don't they teach in grade school that free speech is about **public** discourse with individuals you might disagree with?

JohnRalphio wrote on May 17, 2017 at 11:05 am

No, they taught us the truth: that free speech has to do with government censorship, not about forcing faculty to host a speaker they don't want.

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm

You make a good point about "free speech" as a legal/constitutional concept. However, is it really thematic for a University to stop a speaker just because **some** faculty object? 

CallSaul wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

I can think of quite a few places --- certain churches, political organizations and all manner of other groups who don't share my views --- whose facilities I'd like to use to share my considered views and opinions.

If I invite myself to speak there and they end up declining my self invitation, do I then get to whine and cry and complain that my free speech rights are being violated?

What about those who are so quick to whine and cry and complain that this man with the retrograde views on race and gender is having his free speech rights quashed?

Will they come to my defense and demand that I be allowed to speak? If I'm not allowed to speak, will they shake their heads and decry the erosion of free speech in this country because I'm not being allowed to express my opinions in places and to groups that aren't all that interested in hearing my hot take on whatever it is I want to pontificate about?

Or will they come up with some convoluted rationalization to explain why it's a totally different matter when the supposed violation of free speech concerns views they don't share...?

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

Your applying a false equivalency. Churches and political organizations are not public locations. Moreover, Watson is a geneticist and the (living) founder of the subject that the "Institute of Genomic Biology" is based on. He wanted to give a narrowly focused scientific talk, on his research (I presume), and not spout off about other things. His offer was initially **accepted** before it was retracted.

When you can say all those things about, e.g., a church. Then go ahead and complain.

This is a knock down of free speech at its worst.

CallSaul wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

Unsurprisingly, we have a taker.

You present a complete and utter misunderstanding of free speech.

So, by your lights, any 'public location' must accept any speaker? Somehow, I suspect you'll pull out a reason why this only applies to people with right of center views...

It doesn't matter what he's done before or how 'narrowly focused' --- as he describes it --- his talk would be. His freely expressed yet undeniably retrograde and unscientific views on race and gender would taint the university, the department and everyone associated with it.

He has no right to speak there, 'public location' or otherwise.




Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

Before I continue, let me say that I've read many of your opinions and generally agree with them. But not here, that's all.

"So, by your lights, any 'public location' must accept any speaker?"

You seem to have a logic misstep here. I said that a non-public location does not have to take any speaker. I didn't assert the logical converse. Is this clear? "My father is a man" does not imply "A man is my father".

You ignored the fact that his talk was accepted. It doesn't matter if (in your opinion) it would taint the university; that's not part of "free speech".

Note, my criticism of your reply is not opinion nor merely derogatory: you failed to understand rudimentary logic in this instance.

BTW, Watson hates Republicans. An amusing fact for our discourse.

CallSaul wrote on May 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

Okay, then. What was the point of you noting that the university is a 'public locatoin'? And how are you defining 'public location'?

And what is the relevance of the fact that the talk was contingently scheduled before being formally declined? 

That he and I may share views of the Party of Trump is also irrelevant.

It's also great that we may generally agree on other matters but here we clearly disagree. 

Again, 'public location' --- however defined --- or not, he has no pre ordained right to speak there and declining his self invitation is in no way a violation of his right to free speech.

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

The relevance of him being "contingenty" (whatever that means) accepted before declined is huge. That should be self-evident. I assume a MAGA meeting wouldn't let you even "contingenty" speak Please don't make me have to explain further.

Again you make the SAME logical mis-step. No one is guaranteed a right to speak at the Insitute of Genomic Biology just because it is a publically funded institute. 

Less strictly about logic: there is no "legal" violation of free speech; we are not stopping him from talking about whatever he wants to elsewhere. However, this, in my opinion, violates the spirit of free speech. If you think otherwise, then we "have to agree to disagree" and maybe agree on something else down the road.


CallSaul wrote on May 17, 2017 at 5:05 pm

The definition of contingent is pretty widely known and agreed upon. 

The relevance is not self evident, which is why I've repeatedly asked you explain your motivation for bringing it up again and again. Please explain your point further.

Despite your lecturing about logic, you have yet to explain exactly what you mean by 'public location' and how that bears, specifically, on the issue.

We certainly do disagree on this issue. 

Do you think Richard Spencer is owed the opportunity to spew his violent hatred, racism, anti semetism and outright naziism at any 'public location' he decides to invite himself to?

If not, where do you draw the line? 

If not, what is the difference between Spencer and Watson?

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 9:05 pm

See my response to your other comment.

"lecturing": I'm pointing out that you make (repeatedly) the same logic error. This is nothing to do with opinion or definitions or evading definitions etc which are all open to debate. If you fail to use said logic in simple discussion, how can you be sure of your interpretation of anything?

To summarize my point: there is no *legal* violation of "freedom of speech" -- that is a strawman argument. **If** Watson was extended an invitation (or had his self-invite accepted) then that puts this in a different position than a random idiot who cries about Trump not giving him/her a White house visit to complain. It does mean faculty wanted him to speak. I believe a few have already agreed to this in this forum (although, who knows for sure).

"draw the line": Where do YOU draw the line? If Barack Obama wanted to give a lecture in the history department (maybe about himself) and some faculty member in Engineering objected because he didn't like that Obama took 400000 from a big bank, which that member thinks is completely "retrograde", would you be OK with withdrawing the lecture offer?

In my opinion, to advance progressive causes one should save the nuclear option of shunning for only the worst of the worst. Otherwise we all end up giving evidence for the "snowflake" hit job the other side likes to use.  

On a side note: while I did enjoy Breaking Bad and wanted to like Call Saul, I never saw the latter as being nearly as good.

Reykjavik wrote on May 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

Bravo UIUC.

Freedom of speech does not mean that the host must accept speeches/lectures from anyone. 

Yes, this case is interesting because Watson is super-famous.  But some super-famous people lose it and do not deserve a salute from UIUC.  

The fact that he asked to give a lecture is a tell-tale sign that he might be a crackpot..

annabellissimo wrote on May 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

You wrote, "The fact that he asked to give a lecture is a tell-tale sign that he might be a crackpot." Now there's an open mind. A Noble laureate and renowned scientist - for some, not ALL of his ideas and his work - thinks his current research might be of interest to some other scientists and offers to share it - and a "great mind" at the University of Illinois says that is a sure sign he is a crackpot. The scientist Dr. Watson is almost 100 years old and is still working, thinking, doing research and offers to give a talk. That's what scientists often do, they "give talks." Sometimes they offer, sometimes they are extended an invitation. You called Dr. James Watson a crackpot because he offered to give a talk on his current research. That says all that needs to be said about the status of intellect at UIUC these days. It is a failing institution of higher learning, not because of fiscal attacks from the State, but because of poor intellectual rigor.

Bulldogmojo wrote on May 17, 2017 at 8:05 am


OK here's James Watson giving his speech at a TED conference. I don't think he would have given any revelatory views or discoveries since this. 

Decide for yourselves

ohnoes wrote on May 17, 2017 at 10:05 am

Intelligence testing is racist, it should be done away with.  Anything that distinguishes between different groups and may cause anyone to be looked down upon or lose out on opportunity needs to be eradicted.  Now, step on board this airplane, for its maiden voyage, that we're excited to announce was designed by engineers who were hired without reviewing their academic records, work history or accomplishments.  Tests for airworthiness?  Are you questioning their work?  You must be racist.

Notsoaveragejoe wrote on May 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm

The U of I was given another opportunity and test to move beyond their institutional rhetoric and they failed, as evidenced by this cancelation. This distinguished scholar has every right to a lecture and to share his research and ideas. His "controversial" comments are beliefs that are no doubt held by others and for those who wish to refute them, that provides them with an opportunity to conduct research, discover findings and continue the dialogue further. To run for the hills and yell "I'm offended" has become too common and acceptable in higher education.

Nasty Kate Clancy is just that, she is nasty. She is no doubt the token liberal professor that gets her feathers ruffled at the drop of a hat. This type of behavior only reinforces the overly sensitive, unrealistic and entitled snowflake syndrome of many young students today.   

Bulldogmojo wrote on May 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm


I know Kate Clancy and she is not some reactionary. She is a highly accomplished scientist. And although James Watson made significant strides in studying the structure of DNA his notions of marginalizing entire races with the full knowledge that they are the exact makeup of the exact same DNA structure as HIS that *he discovered (*with much assistance) betrays his own discovery. When you send a message to students that some are less entitled to be there based on race we can't have that in a university setting of learning. We don't have nor will we allow some version of Jim Crow laws at UIUC that sends a message of you can learn science here but if you're black we're not going to let you succeed

as for Jim, he only has himself to blame for his failed legacy.

Notsoaveragejoe wrote on May 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm

The U of I was given another opportunity and test to move beyond their institutional rhetoric and they failed, as evidenced by this cancelation. This distinguished scholar has every right to a lecture and to share his research and ideas. His "controversial" comments are beliefs that are no doubt held by others and for those who wish to refute them, that provides them with an opportunity to conduct research, discover findings and continue the dialogue further. To run for the hills and yell "I'm offended" has become too common and acceptable in higher education.

Nasty Kate Clancy is just that, she is nasty. She is no doubt the token liberal professor that gets her feathers ruffled at the drop of a hat. This type of behavior only reinforces the overly sensitive, unrealistic and entitled snowflake syndrome of many young students today.   

annabellissimo wrote on May 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

A legitimately great university would invite all kinds of thinkers, intellectuals, writers, scientists with a wide variety of ideas. The members of that hypothetical great university would engage those speakers through intellect, information, facts, data, and informed opinion and do so in a civil manner. There would be a meeting of minds, even if those minds did not come to agreement in that "meeting." These engagements would be civil, enlightening, informative, educational. That is what learning is about, that is what open minds are about, and that is what a great university would embrace and embody. Dr. Watson's views that he has apologized for and that so many disapprove of and disagree with and refute based on their own research, even those views could be the subject of an intellectual engagement because how better to make an opposing case for an idea than to debate it. At the University of Illinois, like so many - probably all - of the universities in the U.S. in the late 20th and now early 21st century, that kind of debate does not happen. Incivility, suppression and repression dominate even before any speaker appears. One side, whatever that "side" is, complains and threatens and the other "side" backs down and usually the proposed speaker backs out, preferring not to enter a threatening, bullying arena. Civility, intellectual rigor, the ability to debate and defend and challenge ideas from a solid intellectual and civil base, the willingness to learn, to nurture an open mind - all of those are either extinct or endangered on U.S. university campuses. This has occurred SINCE the 1960s when there were lively and sometimes raucous debates on important issues, but even those soon deteriorated into the kind of loud, shouting-down, repressive, bullying environments that persist and spread today. Repression, bullying, the violent enforcement of groupthink is not the way to enlightenment and education. Getting people to think about, defend, support or abandon their theories - these are the ways of the mind. That has not existed at the University of Illinois for some time, nor at most -probably any - U.S. universities. That is why we are NOT a great university and that is why the anti-intellectual, groupthink, bullies who are more akin to the Chinese Cultural Revolution than to any enlightenment or progressive educational environment have won while everybody else loses. If those who want to repress speakers are so confident and secure in their own views, what are they so afraid of about engaging in civil debate with those they oppose?

JamBam wrote on May 17, 2017 at 11:05 pm

This is just another example of why the U of I is going down the Mizzou path to academic irrelevance.  It's disgusting really.  You have a collection of group thinking faculty morons, and I use the moron term quite literally.  

This guy is good enough to give a TED talk, but he's apparently too "out there" for the precious liberal snowflakes at the University of Illinois?  Seriously?  Nobody is forcing you to attend a lecture.  These people are fine employing (i.e PAYING) fellow freaking terrorists in James Kilgore and Bill Ayers to give lectures to students, and yet this guy they don't want to allow him to lecture? For free?

Bruce Rauner, please bankrupt this institute. Don't give them another dime and let all these libtard professors not receive even 1/10 of their bloated pensions.  These people are sickening.  

And parents, don't send your kids here. As an alum of this school, I'm embarrassed. Other than not giving them any money, there's not much else you can do other than choose another school.

byrdslover wrote on May 17, 2017 at 7:05 pm

If a faculty member from the Genomic Institute had invited him, this would be a very different situation.  But the fact is, he asked if he could give a talk, and the faculty responded no.  End of story. There is absolutely no obligation for a university, public or private, to give anyone who wants one, a platform to speak. But, since this fits many peoples preconceived narrative about "free speech" and "universities", they have to blather on .. anonomously.  And naturally, that has to include name-calling, in this case, Kate Clancy, one of the U of I's best young faculty members.

Alexander wrote on May 17, 2017 at 9:05 pm

As far as I can tell, this is a gross distortion of the facts; and I know you're more than intelligent enough to know it. In the article, it states the **director** of IGB made plans to have him speak, and that it would be a tough decision "either way". This implies that people did support him speaking.

"Free speech" is a strawman argument here; which you should also know. The main question is whether the whims of some (even a majority) should prevent a legitimate (and indeed distinguished) scientist from speaking to educate those faculty (maybe even a minority) who wish to learn from him.

Am I remembering incorrectly that your interpretation of matters was vastly different with Salaita?  


Thewatcher wrote on May 18, 2017 at 10:05 am

The hypocrisy here is all of these people speaking against Watson that were enraged over the Steven Salaita issue. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Point well made.  I would also add that some of those who are speaking for Watson were howling for Steven Salaita' dismissal.  Foreign nationalism, gender, race, and other assorted issues effect the changing views on campus.

At least, money will not be spent for the catered food and drink.

billbtri5 wrote on May 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm

intellectual exchange of ideas....

byrdslover wrote on May 21, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Since so many of you in this comment section are so hugely disappointed that Watson is not coming to speak, why don't all of YOU get together and have him come speak to all of you.  All you need is a room and some folding chairs. It's not so hard to do.


There, problem solved.  Instead of bitching and whining that someone else isn't going to do all the work for you to set up a speech, do it yourselves.

But I'm betting that you'd much rather whine and cry on this comment section instead of actually doing something that you claim is so important to you.

Alexander wrote on May 28, 2017 at 7:05 am

SNAP. What a clever, if facetious reply. The art of rhetoric is not lost on you! Well, I wouldn't pass your courses with the following trite response "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones". Peace out.