Former Harvard professor Carole Hooven places her story in the context of a greater problem plaguing academia.

Since early December, the end of my 20-year career teaching at Harvard has been the subject of articles, op-eds, tweets from a billionaire, and even a congressional hearing. I have become a poster child for how the growing campus DEI—Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—bureaucracies strangle free speech. My ordeal has been used to illustrate the hypocrisy of the assertions by Harvard’s leaders that they honor the robust exchange of challenging ideas. 

What happened to me, and others, strongly suggests that these assertions aren’t true—at least, if those ideas oppose campus orthodoxy. 

To be a central example of what has gone wrong in higher education feels surreal. If there is any silver lining to losing the career that I found so fulfilling, perhaps it’s that my story will help explain the fear that stalks campuses, a fear that spreads every time someone is punished for their speech.

The December 5, 2023, congressional hearing on the rise of antisemitism at colleges did not go well for the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania. …

… As Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) said at the hearing, “Carole Hooven, an evolutionary biologist, was forced to resign, because she stated that a person’s sex is biological and binary. . . . and so, President Gay, in what world is a call for violence against Jews protected speech, but a belief that sex is biological and binary isn’t?”

The world Walberg asks about is that of our colleges and universities, particularly elite ones. While the stated aims of DEI may have been laudable, in practice, DEI culture allows the recasting of certain ideas as “dangerous” or “harmful,” which squashes viewpoint diversity and the open, vigorous debate that should be at the heart of a thriving institution of higher education. So while I was not “forced” to resign, Harvard’s culture of intolerance—particularly toward my scientific views on the nature of sex—led me to feel that my only choice was to leave.