Stanford Faculty Condemns 'Objectionable' Colleague Scott Atlas
The faculty Senate of Stanford University strongly condemned President Donald Trump's controversial colleague and health advisor Scott Atlas for spreading disinformation about COVID-19. His behavior is “an abomination for our values and our belief that we should use knowledge forever. ”
Atlas, a senior contributor to the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford, has come under increasing criticism for urging people not to wear face masks or social distancing and to defy lockdown restrictions. All health professionals recommend containing the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.
Atlas called on Americans last Sunday to stand up against the new COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) after a record spate of coronavirus cases in her state. The call from Atlas came after authorities arrested members of a right-wing paramilitary group on charges of conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer for their efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus and protect the health of Michigan.
The senate of the faculty accepted the resolution with 85% of its members. The resolution detailed Atlas' COVID-19 disinformation, which "contradicts medical science" and harmed Stanford's "reputation and academic standing," according to a statement from the university.
Atlas's call to stand up against Whitmer was also highlighted.
"What Atlas did is an embarrassment for the university," said Dr. David Spiegel of the Stanford School of Medicine. "He uses his genuine affiliation with Hoover to provide credibility on issues that he cannot discuss professionally."
Atlas is a neuroradiologist with no expertise or significant experience in infectious diseases or pandemics.
"We condemn his behavior in the strongest possible terms," the resolution said. "It violates the core values of our faculty and the expectations of the Stanford Code of Conduct that we are all" responsible for upholding the high ethical standards of this institution. "
The resolution urged the university to "strongly reject the actions of Atlas as objectionable based on the university's core values and contrary to our own policies and guidelines regarding COVID-19 and life on campus".
The resolution was passed more than two months after an open letter condemning Atlas was signed by around 100 members of the Stanford School of Medicine and other researchers. The letter cited the Hippocratic oath that doctors take to "do no harm first" and attacked Altas' harmful "lies and misrepresentations of science".
Atlas's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, threatened to sue those who signed the letter.
Neither Atlas nor Kasowitz immediately responded to HuffPost's requests for comment.
Stanford issued a statement earlier this week that Atlas' statements about COVID-19 did not reflect the position of the university or the Hoover Institution in support of the use of face masks and social distancing.
However, some critics said the statement alone was insufficient and Stanford should crack down on Atlas. The Hoover Institution brings millions in donations and grants into Stanford's coffers.
The faculty's senate did not call for any sanctions, including dismissal, against Atlas.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, has attacked Atlas's recommendations.
"I have real problems with this guy," the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases told the Washington Post last month. He "talks about things that I think he has no real insight, knowledge or experience. He keeps talking about things that ... [don't] make sense."
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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