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Mayo Clinic academic freedom statements are just words, not commitments: ruling

Attorney for suspended professor says Mayo Clinic ‘victory’ is ‘its greatest loss’

The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine convinced a judge that its various promises of academic freedom are not contractual, but just a “general policy statement.”

The July 1 ruling largely allows Dr. Michael Joyner’s lawsuit against the Rochester, Minnesota university to proceed, however. The college sanctioned Joyner after he made comments about testosterone giving a benefit to athletes and criticizing the National Institutes of Health approach to COVID treatments.

The comments about testosterone garnered interest as it directly undermined arguments for allowing males to compete against women in sports. These comments caused problems “in the media and the LGBTQI+ community at Mayo Clinic,” according to a memo sent to Joyner.

Mayo Clinic’s “victory” is “its greatest loss,” according to the attorney for Dr. Joyner.

“Mayo’s only victory in yesterday’s ruling was in fact its greatest loss,” Kellie Miller told The College Fix via email on Tuesday. She is an attorney with Allen Harris Law.

“Mayo argued that their promises of academic freedom are, in fact, meaningless,” Miller wrote. “This is not an argument any real educational institution should ever want to win or make.”

“The public should be aware that when a doctor at Mayo speaks, their statements may not represent their honest scientific opinion, but rather a curated statement serving Mayo’s institutional interests,” Miller said. “That Mayo even made this argument highlights the need for real changes at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Joyner looks forward to his opportunity to be a part of that change. “

Joyner otherwise won in court, as the judge allowed his “breach of contract” and “anti-retaliation” claims to proceed. Drs. Gianrico Farrugia and Carlos Mantilla lost on their request to be removed as defendants.

Farrugia is the CEO of Mayo Clinic and Mantilla chairs the clinic’s department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine.

Miller, the attorney for Joyner, said the clinic “retaliated against Dr. Joyner and disciplined him without cause or justification, then tried to publicly tarnish his excellent reputation, in violation of the law and their own policies,” in her comment to The Fix.

“Dr. Joyner looks forward to his day in court and to holding Mayo and Drs. Farrugia and Mantilla accountable for their actions.”

MORE: Northwestern law discriminates against white men in hiring, lawsuit argues

IMAGE: Mayo Clinic/YouTube

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