Free expression and academic freedom on campus are worth fighting for
Anybody connected with MIT has likely heard of the “Abbot Affair” by now. Dorian Abbot, a geophysicist from the University of Chicago, was invited to give the prestigious John Carlson Lecture, an annual public event of the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Though it is unrelated to his research or lecture topic, Abbot is an outspoken advocate for “Merit, Fairness, and Equality” (MFE), in opposition to the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) initiatives that are now the norm on many campuses, including at MIT. Abbot has made many controversial statements in the public square in his defense of MFE. After an uproar both internal to MIT’s campus and on social media about allowing Abbot to speak, the department canceled this year’s Carlson Lecture and invited Abbot to instead give an internal colloquium to the department.