University of Alabama Earth Science professor Dr. Matthew Wielicki (Image Source: Fox News Digital video screenshot)
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A departing University of Alabama science professor stated that it is "career suicide" to stand up against higher education's "obsession" with DEI and climate initiatives due to the "rise in illiberalism," Fox News Digital reported.
Dr. Matthew Wielicki, an earth science professor and Polish immigrant, announced on Twitter that he plans to leave his position at the end of the semester partly because universities "are no longer places that embrace the freedom of exchanging ideas and will punish those that go against the narrative."
Wielicki, who describes himself as a "classical liberal," told Fox News Digital Wednesday that his decision to leave was "mainly personal," but the "rise of illiberalism" made his decision "easier."
"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," Wielicki wrote. "The rise of illiberalism in the name of DEI is the antithesis of the principles that universities were founded on."
Wielicki explained that speaking out against climate and DEI initiatives was "career suicide" and that he is unsure whether there is a place for professors with dissenting views in the higher education system.
"Every decision in academia is framed in this lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion, whether it's the acceptance of students to the funding of grants," Wielicki said.
The science professor stated that the university system is "virtue signaling" by enrolling more minority students but neglecting to ensure "those students are being successful once they leave those universities."
Wielicki also sounded the alarm on the "false climate emergency" having a negative mental health impact on students.
"I see that this constant catastrophe-ism is robbing their ambitions," he explained. "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 would 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 could have a brighter future."
For those reasons, Wielicki concluded that the profession is "no longer worthy of my efforts."
The University of Alabama told Fox News Digital, "The University of Alabama is committed to academic freedom, free speech, and open scientific inquiry for all members of our campus. As an institution of higher education, the University encourages civil discourse and the exchange of numerous and varying perspectives. We offer a wide variety of intellectual opportunities and encourage students to form their own opinions and beliefs. Faculty earn opportunities at the University according to the merit of their work. We have no comment on specific faculty employment decisions or outcomes."
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.