Author: Brad Cran

The Academic Mob and Its Fatal Toll

“I get the queasiness of no due process. But . . . losing your job isn’t death or prison.” Dayna Tortorici (Twitter)  “If you compare dissent via social media to lynch mobs, then you don’t understand dissent, social media, or lynch mobs.” Jen Sookfong Lee (Twitter)   In 1992, the ethics committee of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University accused neurology and neurosurgery professor Justine Sergent of failing to properly obtain their approval for her work using radioactive isotopes to study the brain function of pianists. Sergent claimed no wrongdoing other than, at most, a technical mistake of not re-requesting specific approval to study pianists reading sheet music when she had already received approval to use the same technology to study brain function in people reacting to images of human faces. The following year she was officially reprimanded for the alleged breach but filed an appeal in arbitration. Over the next two years, Sergent’s dispute with the ethics committee grew bitter and she claimed it was based on personal grievances and not on the …