Sexist Comments, Backlash and Another Backlash

July 10, 2015

University College London is standing by its decision to accept the resignation of Tim Hunt, a British biochemist who shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Medicine, and who in June quit a largely honorary position at the university amid criticism over his comments on women. He resigned amid widespread anger that he said, at a conference, “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab -- you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry …. I’m in favor of single-sex labs.” While he apologized after that, he also said he was telling the truth. “I mean, it is true that I have fallen in love with people in the lab and that people in the lab have fallen in love with me. It's very disruptive to science.”

After University College London accepted Hunt's resignation, some scientists criticized the institution, saying that it was punishing Hunt for being politically incorrect, and that it inappropriately pushed for the resignation. On Thursday, the university's Council issued a statement saying that it had reviewed all the documents about the case, and that the Council
"unanimously supports the decision taken by UCL’s executive to accept the resignation." However, the statement added that "there are lessons to be learned around the communication process."

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