(Note: This post has been UPDATED. See below.)
A alumnus of University College London has withdrawn from his will a one hundred thousand pound (over $150,000) donation to the college due to its treatment of Nobel laureate scientist Tim Hunt.
Hunt, you may recall, was accused of making sexist remarks at a conference, and a subsequent Twitter mob forced his resignation.
Jeremy Hornsby, who was once UCL’s student union president, “had planned to leave each of the two establishments that educated him – Winchester College and UCL – a tenth of his estate as a sign of his gratitude.”
Hornsby had sent a letter to the UCL’s provost warning him of his intentions; he never even received a reply.
Mr. Hornsby wrote: “I have always been a loyal apologist and enthusiast for UCL, where I was president of the students’ union 1958-59, the year we moved to the old Seaman’s Hospital on Gordon Street. I have managed to ignore the various decisions over the years which appear to have enabled the radicalisation of Muslim students at UCL, but the case of Sir Tim Hunt is the last straw.
“Suffice to say that if I do not read that Prof Hunt has been reinstated within the next week, or, should he decline to return, that an apology has been issued to him, I shall sadly feel I must alter my will to remove the benefaction to UCL.”
Sir Tim, a biochemist who was awarded the Nobel prize in 2001, caused a storm of protest after reports of his speech in South Korea were tweeted. Sir Tim reportedly said: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”
Near the end of last month, an account surfaced that differed with that of Connie St. Louis, who made the initial accusations against Hunt.
Now, an audio snippet of Hunt’s conference remarks show clearly that the scientist was joking. People were indeed laughing — there was no “deathly silence,” as Ms. St. Louis had contended, following Hunt’s comments.
CORRECTION: This post has been amended to note that Hornsby’s total will is worth some $1.5 million, and that his withdrawn donation to UCL is valued at around $150,000.