By Valerie Richardson– The Washington Times – Updated: 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, 2019
Nobody has done more to sink the claim that climate change is endangering polar bears than zoologist Susan Crockford — and she may have paid for it with her job.
After 15 years as an adjunct assistant professor, Ms. Crockford said that the University of Victoria refused without explanation in May to renew her contract, despite her high profile as a speaker and author stemming from her widely cited research on polar bears and dog domestication.
Ms. Crockford accused officials at the Canadian university of bowing to “outside pressure,” the result of her research showing that polar-bear populations are stable and even thriving, not plummeting due to shrinking Arctic sea ice, defying the claims of the climate-change movement.
Her dismissal, which she announced Wednesday in a post on her Polar Bear Science blog, has spurred alarm over the implications for academic freedom and the rise of the so-called “cancel culture” for professors and scientists who challenge climate-catastrophe predictions.
“When push came to shove, UVic threw me under the bus rather than stand up for my academic freedom,” said Ms. Crockford, who earned a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, specifically biology and anthropology, in 2004.
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Ms. Crockford cited numerous instances of the university promoting her interviews and work, including her participation in a 2007 Nature documentary on dog domestication and evolution, as well as her appearances at K-12 schools and adult groups for 10 years through the University of Victoria Speakers Bureau.
That supportive climate changed two years ago. In May 2017, her lectures were shut down after the speakers’ bureau received a complaint about her “lack of balance,” which “I believe poisoned support I might have expected from colleagues in the department,” she said.
“The speakers’ bureau incident made it clear the administration had no intention of protecting my academic freedom against complaints from outside the university,” said Ms. Crockford in an email to The Washington Times.