Assistant adjunct UVic professor allegedly let go for “politically incorrect” views on polar bears

Campus Environmental News

Dr. Susan Crockford believes she was let go because of her climate-change denying views, which UVic has denied

Image via pixabay

Former UVic professor Susan Crockford is speaking out after she was allegedly wrongfully let go from her post at the university because of her views on climate change. Crockford was an unpaid Adjunct Assistant Professor with the Anthropology Department, whose contract spanned from 2011-2019. Crockford’s request to renew her contract was denied. 

Her allegations have been shared internationally, including by the Washington Times in the United States and SkyNews in Australia. An op-ed in the Financial Post was published by one of Crockford’s colleagues at the pro-fossil fuel British think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and argued that UVic had not responded adequately to her repeated questions about the end of Crockford’s contract. 

“There is no evidence to suggest that Dr. Crockford’s adjunct appointment was not renewed for ‘telling school kids politically incorrect facts about polar bears,’” said UVic Associate Vice President Michele Parkin in an article for the Washington Times. “The University of Victoria, in both word and deed, supports academic freedom and free debate on academic issues.”

Her adjunct status was renewed unanimously by the Anthropology department in 2016. 

Previously, Crockford was a lecturer with UVic’s Speakers Bureau. After receiving complaints in 2017 of bias, her lectures were shut down. This, Crockford claims, was the first time she noted the university constricting her academic freedom. 

Another professor at UVic, Cornelis van Kooten, agreed with Crockford and told the Washington Times that “the climate change movement has done extreme harm to academic freedom,” and “free speech has been banned from campuses across much of the West in the name of political correctness.”

Crockford’s research claims polar bear populations are thriving, and seeks to undermine the widely accepted science that the species are dying off due to human-related climate crisis and massive amounts of projected ice melting. 

In a recent study of climate change denying websites, 80 per cent used Crockford’s blog as a primary source. 

Crockford’s blog is not an academic peer-reviewed source, and she has not published a lot of peer-reviewed literature on the effects of sea ice on the population dynamics of polar bears. She has worked with two well-known conservative think tanks, the GWPF and the Heartland Institute. Many of her arguments stem from questioning the certainty or future predictions of scientific studies. On her blog, Crockford recently called a peer-reviewed paper by USGS “bogus” and “lame.” Often, Crockford claims that scientific studies focus on predicting the future rather than focusing on the present, which she claims shows that polar bears are doing just fine. 

Crockford’s blog definitely denies a climate crisis, claiming that climate emergency rhetoric is “emotionally manipulating the public (especially young girls).” 

Although some sub-populations of polar bears are increasing, there is general scientific consensus that ice melting will impact polar bear populations. Internationally, polar bears are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.

UVic media relations was contacted, but at the time of writing did not respond to the Martlet’s request for comment.