My Oversight on Scott Atlas

My Hoover colleague and friend Alvin Rabushka writes:

An example of the authority of local control is Sara Cody, the health officer and public health director of Santa Clara County.  She dictated Stanford’s response to COVID, a “shelter-in-place” lockdown.  The evidence Atlas assembled and presented contradicted her instructions to Santa Clara County residents, firms, and institutions.  For this reason and others, 85 percent of the members of the Stanford Faculty Senate in late November 2020 voted to condemn him, only the second instance in Stanford history.  The intervention of the former provost, worried about academic freedom, persuaded the Senate against  recommending that Stanford discipline Atlas.  Only two of his Hoover Institution colleagues publicly defended him.

In private communication, Alvin informed me that I was not one of the two. I was surprised. I thought I had. I certainly did so with my doctor and with my friends. And I did write this, which was an implicit public defense of Scott Atlas, but it was not even an implicit defense of his academic freedom.

So, on the record, I do defend Scott Atlas’s academic freedom. This defense is independent of any advice he gave to President Trump. But from what I have read, his advice was generally quite good. It’s easy to defend the academic freedom of someone that you 90+ percent agree with, as is the case with Scott.

But even if I had totally disagreed with Scott’s advice, I think the Stanford Faculty Senate was totally out of line.