Mark Tykocinski, the president of Thomas Jefferson University and dean of its medical college, is under fire for liking tweets that question the “science” of COVID-19 vaccines, call gender reassignment surgery “child mutilation,” and for criticizing the so-called diversity offices on college campuses.
“Thomas Jefferson University president Mark Tykocinski is under fire after liking a number of tweets from writer Alex Berenson questioning the Covid-19 vaccines.”https://t.co/L4KTT9b5nE
— Michael P Senger (@michaelpsenger) May 2, 2023
Tykocinski, a Yale-educated molecular immunologist who has worked at Jefferson for 16 years, was elevated from provost to president on July 1. According to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Tykocinski has liked nearly 30 tweets by Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and prominent COVID-19 skeptic.
One of the Berenson tweets that Tykocinski liked said: “Two years after their introduction, the mRNAs Covid vaccines have proven to be what we all should have expected. Another in a long line of overhyped, rushed, profit-driven Big Pharma flops with weak long-term efficacy and a lousy side effect profile. …”
Tykocinski came under intense personal and professional scrutiny after liking a tweet by Donald Trump regarding gender reassignment surgery for children and the lies doctors tell regarding such procedures. He also liked a tweet that referenced a case highlighting the documented dangers of the covid vaccinations.
In response to the liberal backlash, Tykocinski said in a statement that he ‘liked’ tweets to bookmark them and learn more about the subject matter or the particular viewpoint. He said he did not understand that by liking a tweet, it could be interpreted as endorsement of the thought expressed or the person expressing it.
“As a scientist, educator and administrator, I firmly believe that productive discourse is a foundational element of science, growth and education. I certainly had no intention of endorsing the content of individual tweets or the person tweeting,” he wrote.
Critics argue that by liking certain tweets, Tykocinski is lending his support to ideas and beliefs that run counter to the values of Thomas Jefferson University. According to the university’s statement, Thomas Jefferson University is committed to fostering an “inclusive” community where all members feel safe and respected.
However, it is argued by his supporters that Thomas Jefferson University fails to deliver on fostering a safe community for publicly shaming an employee for expressing an interest in different political views.
The university is currently conducting a review of Tykocinski’s Twitter activity to determine whether any action is necessary, but has said “he should have known better.”
As American universities increasingly become more indoctrinated by the liberal agenda — it remains to be seen how they will navigate the tension between free speech and the far-left’s need to create safe spaces.