Speaking up about issues like climate and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) policies was "career suicide," according to the University of Alabama assistant Professor Dr. Matthew Wielicki.
Wielicki announced on social media on Monday that he would be leaving the University of Alabama's Department of Geological Sciences after the spring semester to be closer to family. His thread of tweets explaining his issues with the state of academia went viral and has been viewed 1.9 million times since Wednesday morning.
Fox News interviewed Wielicki on Wednesday about climate issues and DEI.
"The real driver for us to leave Alabama and move to Colorado is really being closer to family, but what made it easier is this rise of illiberalism," Wielicki said in the interview. "I don't think it's one thing that broke the camel's back. It's (that) every decision in academia is framed in this lens of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, whether it's acceptance of students to funding of grants. It's the exact opposite of what I think Dr. Martin Luther King, who we celebrated last week, was talking about when he talked about judging people by the content of their character. That's not what we're doing in academia anymore."
Wielicki said DEI is "discouraging a lot of people."
"It's increasing the number of minorities we have in the universities, but I think in the outcomes that we see, it's not having a positive effect," Wielicki said. "In fact…NSF provides us the numbers with the number of minorities that are within certain STEM fields, and what we find is that although those numbers have increased slightly, we don't see that they're being hired into the industry and into the fields coming out of the universities. The outcomes of these students are not getting better. This has become some way of universities trying to build up their virtue signaling by the number of minority students without really concern of whether those students are being successful once they leave those universities. I think that's exactly the opposite of what we should be thinking about when we're teaching our students. Our goal is to provide them a foundation to have a successful career in the future, and those outcomes are not occurring."
Wielicki told Fox News that "this constant catastrophism" around the climate is "robbing" students of their ambitions.
"They don't see their future as bright and fruitful," Wielicki said. "I've had multiple students come to me and tell me they no longer plan on having a family because they don't think raising children in this world will be a smart idea because the planet is going to end. This is the exact opposite of how we would motivate young people to be good stewards of the environment and to look at their future and be responsible and make sacrifices now so that they can have a brighter future."
Wielicki also said, "I think that it was clear to me that speaking up about things like climate and DEI was career suicide, and I think it really was."
"I hope that a few more people like me that go through this will allow more discussion," Wielicki added. "This is part of this illiberalism that even asking questions or talking about outcomes and possible unforeseen consequences…I think DEI they probably have their hearts in the right place. I agree we should have more inclusivity. I think the climate folks want to protect the planet. The unforeseen consequences, just asking questions (and) having discussions now makes you a heretic. It makes you somebody that is ostracized."
In his original statement on social media, Wielicki said "some internet sleuths have discovered that I will be leaving my faculty position in the Department of Geological Sciences after this semester, so I thought I should tell you why."
"As with most large decisions, the reasons are mainly personal," Wielicki said. "COVID made me realize that we were really far from our families in California and the travel on our elderly parents was taking a toll. The result was that our children were not seeing their grandparents very often. As a Polish immigrant, I know what it's like to live far from family, and I started to resent myself for choosing my career over my family's time together."
Wielicki continued by saying that "furthermore, over the last decade or so, but especially the last few years, the obsession with universities and grant-funding institutions on immutable characteristics of faculty and students and the push for equity in science above all else has dramatically changed the profession of an academic professor."
"The rise of illiberalism in the name of DEI is the antithesis of the principles that universities were founded on," Wielicki said. "These are no longer places that embrace the freedom of exchanging ideas and will punish those that go against the narrative. Although I had worked from an early age to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor, like my father, I feel the profession is no longer worthy of my efforts. Contributing to this is the earth science communities silence on the false "climate emergency" narrative. Members of the community routinely discuss the mental health effects of climate catastrophism but dare not speak out lest they lose their positions and research funds. I will continue to objectively review the current state of the science and provide my expert opinions through social media and a future podcast and book (hopefully, coming soon)."
According to his website, Wielicki has been an assistant professor at the University of Alabama since 2016. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California-Los Angeles in geochemistry. He also has a TikTok account with 29.7 thousand followers that is described as an "honest discussion about climate."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.
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