University of Alabama assistant professor Dr. Matthew Wielicki was interviewed on Fox News on Friday morning to discuss a recent survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression that found that 72% of conservative faculty, 56% of moderate faculty, and even 40% of liberal faculty in American colleges and universities are afraid of losing their jobs or reputations due to their speech. 

Wielicki lamented, "[T]here's this hesitancy to have opinions and particularly opinions that may go against the mainstream and the ideologies that the universities have set." 

"Particularly as assistant professors, those of us that don't have tenure yet, we really put our tail between our legs and try not to rock the boat," he added. "I already knew that my employment was ending over a year ago, so I felt that this was a good time to speak out. I saw by the reaction that the university had, and other faculty members had that I was right that this is a subject, particularly things like (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), that you aren't allowed to discuss, even raising questions about possible negative consequences. It's sufficient to be painted a racist or someone that wants to see less minority students in the university system, and that's absolutely not true."

Wielicki said in the interview that he "definitely got pushback on multiple DEI initiatives," including Graduate Record Examinations admissions requirement for his department being dropped.

"This was dropped in the name of equity, and so I pushed back to try to make folks understand in the administration that this was removing information from me to make a good decision about which student would be successful in our program and which ones wouldn't," Wielicki said. "It was very difficult for me to understand what their qualifications were unless I could see some sort of standardized test, particularly when we have students applying from places like India, China, and Africa…folks from rural communities and urban centers. This was one of the initiatives that I pushed back very hard on. I don't know if this was something necessarily that would've led me to lose my job, but it was enough, this rise of illiberalism was enough that the profession just wasn't what I imagined and what my father worked in for over three decades."

Wielicki announced on social media in January 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 2.1 million times.

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 about 30,000 followers that is described as an "honest discussion about climate."

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