Stanford professor who challenged COVID lockdowns says ‘academic freedom is dead’

by Jacob Fuller

Trey Paul, FISM News 


One Stanford University professor who maintains we’re still feeling the consequences of COVID lockdown orders is now declaring “academic freedom is dead” after he was de-platformed for objecting to COVID lockdown policies during the pandemic.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya says his life became a “living hell” for not only challenging coronavirus lockdown policies but the “scientific clerisy” during the pandemic.

In addition to being a professor at Stanford University Medical School, Dr. Bhattacharya is an epidemiologist and an economist who serves as director of Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging.

With those credentials, he became one of the eminent authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which is an open letter signed by doctors and scientists who believe lockdowns are harmful.

Part of that declaration reads:

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

Soon after, Dr. Anthony Fauci denounced the letter and labeled the call for herd immunity  as “nonsense and very dangerous.”

Dr. Bhattacharya recently took a dig at Dr. Fauci by tweeting: Fond memories of late fall 2021, when Tony Fauci warned us all against the depredations of Christmas.

Dr. Fauci wasn’t the only one who contributed to the backlash Dr. Bhattacharya received after penning the letter. Not only did he receive death threats and hate mail, but he was also questioned about where he received funding and later noted “most of my money has come from the NIH for most of my life.”

Dr. Bhattacharya recently spoke at the Academic Freedom Conference at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business where he elaborated on the declaration.

“The purpose of the one-page document was aimed at telling the public that there was not a scientific consensus in favor of lockdown, that in fact many epidemiologists, many doctors, many other people — prominent people — disagreed with the consensus,” he said.

Dr. Bhattacharya said he was disinvited from delivering a campus talk and a debate on COVID policies was stalled.

“If Stanford really truly were committed to academic freedom, they would have … worked to make sure that there were debates and discussions, seminars, where these ideas were discussed among faculty,” regardless of whether academics agreed or disagreed, he told Fox News Digital after his address at the conference.

“What if there had been open scientific debate on campus, sponsored by the university on this, so that people could know there were legitimate alternate views?” he asked.

Dr. Bhattacharya argued that if the Stanford president had pushed for a debate when the Great Barrington Declaration was written, “there would have been tremendous controversy around it.”

He said this level of censorship wasn’t just felt at the university. He recently tweeted: “Dear censors (especially those working for the government), History will remember you as the bad guys of the pandemic. That’s how it always ultimately works out. May you have the freedom to speak that you denied others. Yours, Jay”

Texas Congressman Chip Roy led a COVID-19 accountability hearing that included witnesses like Dr. Bhattacharya who discussed the damages caused by lockdowns and the widespread harm caused by vaccine mandates.

“We robbed the American people of a true debate, a true discussion about this,” Dr. Bhattacharya said during the hearing. “The issue is the truth comes from people honestly engaging with the data. Censorship kills that. Censorship kills science, and I think censorship actually killed people during this pandemic,” he said.