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Stanford Faculty Condemn Hoover Institution Fellow, Trump COVID-19 Advisor Dr. Scott Atlas - 'An Embarrassment To The University'

STANFORD (CBS SF) – Members of Stanford University's faculty senate approved a measure condemning Hoover Institution fellow Dr. Scott Atlas for his work advising President Donald Trump on the COVID-19 pandemic, with one member calling his actions "an embarrassment to the university."

According to a university statement, 85% of the senate membership approved the measure, which called Atlas' behavior "anathema to our community, our values and our belief that we should use knowledge for good."

Atlas, who was appointed to the Trump administration in August, has made several controversial statements about the coronavirus, including criticizing lockdowns and restrictions in response to the pandemic, downplaying mask use, and claiming that only those who are vulnerable need protection from the virus.

Dr. Scott Atlas
White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas speaks on Covid-19 testing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 28, 2020. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

"What Atlas has done is an embarrassment to the university," said Dr. David Spiegel of the Stanford School of Medicine.

The faculty senate's resolution also condemned a recent tweet by Atlas calling for the people of Michigan to "rise up" after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enacted public health measures in response to rising coronavirus cases.

Atlas later clarified he was not trying to encourage more violence against Whitmer and was talking about voting and peaceful protest.

University president Marc Tessier-Levigne said he was "deeply troubled by the views by Dr. Atlas, including his call to 'rise up' in Michigan."

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is now director of the Hoover Institution, also criticized Atlas over his recent tweet, calling it "offensive and well beyond the boundaries of what is appropriate for someone in a position of authority, such as the one he holds."

Rice said Atlas' views on masks, social distancing and COVID-19 testing are also at odds with the institution's adoption of such measures.

While condemning Atlas, the faculty senate stopped short of asking university leaders to investigate Atlas for possible sanctions amid concerns about academic freedom.

Earlier this week, the university said it was disavowing itself over Atlas' statements on the pandemic. "Dr. Atlas has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university's approach in response to the pandemic. Dr. Atlas's statements reflect his personal views, not those of the Hoover Institution or the university," the school said in a statement.

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