Top female scientist canceled over 13-year-old ‘Michael Jackson’ Halloween costume

https://www.thecollegefix.com/top-female-scientist-canceled-over-13-year-old-michael-jackson-halloween-costume/

Top female scientist canceled over 13-year-old ‘Michael Jackson’ Halloween costume

By Jennifer Kabbany

March 7, 2022

‘UW Medicine is helping to ruin a woman who devoted her career to finding a cure for HIV’

Highly decorated virologist Julie Overbaugh has been forced out of a position of leadership at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and resigned her faculty affiliate position at the University of Washington School of Medicine due to accusations of racism and investigations involving her decision to wear a Michael Jackson costume to a Halloween party in 2009.

A picture of the 13-year-old incident, in which she is accused of wearing “blackface,” has prompted peers to accuse her of racism despite the fact that her research has focused on aiding Africans for the last three decades.

“Overbaugh has devoted her professional career to studying viral pathogens that cause HIV. But amid publishing papers, running her own research lab, and flying back and forth from Kenya, she has also pursued another professional passion: mentoring. Overbaugh is one of two recipients of this year’s Nature Award for Mentoring in Science, which is awarded to select scientists in one country or region each year,” a 2016 report in GeekWire reports.

Last year, Overbaugh was elected to National Academy of Sciences.

“I am really happy to see gender balance in this year’s elected members and hope this signals a future trend,” Overbaugh said at the time. “In my field, HIV, which is a very large field, there have only been a couple of women elected — hopefully, there will be more in the future.”

But Overbaugh’s accomplishments during an age in which female STEM recruitment and retainment is a social justice priority apparently could not outweigh the 2009 incident of emulating the King of Pop at a party that was reportedly themed after Jackson’s famous “Thriller” album.

Members of the Overbaugh lab apparently enjoy celebrating Halloween and have posted pictures of its themed parties every year. In past years they have dressed as emojis, bumble bees, fish — and even as “Binders of Babes” — a riff on Republican Mitt Romney’s gaffe while running for president.

The picture from the year 2009 is conspicuously missing from the webpage.

“The act depicted in the photo is racist, offensive and hurtful, and we offer our sincere apologies to anyone who has experienced pain or upset because of the act or this photo,” the cancer center announced in mid-February, adding Overbaugh was put on administrative leave and placed under investigation.

“Dr. Overbaugh has stepped down from her senior vice president role at Fred Hutch. She will continue working in her lab and will take a hiatus from her leadership duties in the Office of Education & Training. During this time, she will engage in an intensive education and reflection process.”

The Federalist reports:

Though the incident didn’t occur at UW Medicine, its CEO and equity officer also waded into the faux controversy. UW Medicine CEO Dr. Paul Ramsey and Chief Equity Officer Paula Houston notified UW Medicine staff in an email that Overbaugh was punished for engaging in the “racist, dehumanizing, and abhorrent act” of “blackface.” During a separate formal review process for UW faculty, the email confirmed, Overbaugh resigned from her UW affiliate faculty member appointment.

Overbaugh released a short statement to me. “I did not know the association of this with blackface at the time, in 2009, but understand the offense that is associated with this now,” she said. “I have apologized for this both publicly and privately and beyond that have no other comments.”

Ramsey and Houston claim that the UW Medicine community was “harmed” by the 13-year-old photo that most staff didn’t know existed until reading about it in the Feb. 25 email. “We acknowledge that our community has been harmed by this incident and the fact that 13 years elapsed before action was taken,” they wrote. “We are convening a series of affinity group meetings in the next few weeks to provide spaces for mutual support, reflection, and response.”

Neither Ramsey nor Houston explained how the photo “harmed” anyone. Indeed, beyond one confirmed complaint, it’s unclear if anyone even cared about the old photo.

The full memo from UW Medicine was republished by journalist Jesse Singal on his Twitter page. The memo notes that Overbaugh resigned her post at the university once administrators began their own probe into the incident.

Her faculty bio is no longer on the UW School of Medicine website, although its Department of Global Health has, as of Monday afternoon, yet to strip her from its webpage.

“A U. Washington doctor who has dedicated her career to fighting HIV in Africa, including research w/sex workers, is having her reputation and career incinerated because she dressed up as Michael Jackson, in blackface, once in 2009,” Singal noted.

https://twitter.com/jessesingal/status/1497289911996760064

“Just to situate everyone, the event in question happened several years before the most recent instance of 30 Rock airing blackface-oriented comedy to tens of millions of people. What she did was a bad idea but at the time was obviously not seen as too risque even for network TV,” he added.

Writing for The Federalist, Jason Rantz points out that “UW Medicine is lashing out against Overbaugh to show its wokeness and earn social currency.”

“That UW Medicine is helping to ruin a woman who devoted her career to finding a cure for HIV is immaterial to its leaders. To progressive activists, highlighting one’s virtues is more important than curing a deadly disease.”

March 8, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Health care, Political correctness, Racism, Science, Sexism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 1 comment.

Students call for laxed grading for black students. University goes along with it.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=14975

Students call for laxed grading for black students. University goes along with it.

Students at the University of Washington want lax policies for black students during finals week.

By Jessica Custodio

June 3, 2020

Professors are encouraged to give their black students grading leniency to “cope emotionally.”

Students at the University of Washington are demanding that black students be given leniency on finals because they are too “busy fighting for [their] rights to sit down and study.” The university is advising professors to do just that.

An online petition calls for laxed grading and accommodations, specifically for Black students. So far, the petition has amassed more than 26,000 signatures.

“…give Black students a break! We are already DISPROPORTIONATELY impacted by this pandemic in terms of health care access and financial hardship. Now add state-sanctioned violence, how do you expect us to enter finals in this headspace?!” reads the petition.

“You need to encourage and demand professors to accommodate their black students during this time. If UW truly understands our pain, UW will be a part of alleviating it,” the petition continues. “We can’t sit back and watch as injustices unfold before our eyes. We don’t have the privilege that white and non-black students do to ignore what’s happening and stay at home to study for finals,” the petition added.

“We are busy fighting for our rights and for the rights of future black children and students to sit down and study. The least UW could do is demand professors to accommodate us during this time”

“I recognize that this institution and others across the country were not built to serve marginalized students, specifically Black students. Still to this day, institutions such as UW, do not serve Black students to the same capacity that white students benefit from,” student government president Kelty Pierce told The Daily.

A template to help professors announce these accommodations has been circulating on social media, reading “Dear Students, I am writing to you to offer accommodations for black students in this class during the end of this class and finals.”

“Many black students are not just using this time to cope emotionally, but to fight on the front lines of these protests and actively work and take action on what has been happening to the black community.” it continues.

Nicole McNichols, UW Psychology Professor provided Campus Reform with a copy of the email she sent to her own students.

“I sent this on Sunday before I knew about the petition,” McNichols said. “Obviously, I support the petition and absolutely believe the accommodations it requests should be honored by all faculty. Students need all of the support and compassion we can afford to give them right now.”

The email sent by McNichols to her students reads, “I wanted to reach out and acknowledge the incredible grief, fear, and loneliness that I know many of you are experiencing in light of recent (and not so recent) events. These are frightening times and I know that many of you are struggling emotionally as our country suffers not only from a pandemic but also from abhorrent racism, overwhelming violence, and palpable rage. These events are terrible and it is completely understandable to feel scared and alone right now.”

“Last, I think we all could use a break right now as these times certainly call for compassion. Given this, there will be a following change to the course policies. First, the remaining homework chapters are being put into review mode. Everyone will receive full points. Second, I have decided to drop everyone’s lowest exam score. This means that you may opt-out of taking Exam 3 if you just don’t feel up to it, (or if you [are] happy with your scores from exam 1 and 2), the email added.”

UW Senior Director of Media Relations Victor Balta directed Campus Reform to a message that was sent to all instructors Monday asking them “to consider that while we are together as a community, some are being affected more than others.”

“I think the statement clearly lays out a couple of examples of what instructors could provide to their students, such as extra time to finish assignments or a ‘final-examination optional’ approach,” said Balta.

In the message, the university told professors “in these final weeks of the quarter, as assignments become due and exams are taken, to be especially responsive to the needs that your students, especially those who are members of the Black community, may have for accommodations as we conclude the school year.”

Accommodations might include extra time to finish assignments or providing a ‘final examination optional’ pathway, for example,” the memo continued.

June 6, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

This 19 second video does a wonderful job of explaining this country’s political divide

This was filmed at a library at the University of Washington. The guy at the end is my hero:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHhy2Gk_xik

 

February 25, 2018. Tags: , , , . Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.