Healthcare

Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas for 'view of COVID-19 that contradicts medical science'

Stanford University faculty on Thursday condemned the recent actions of Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at the school's Hoover Institution who has been advising President Trump on coronavirus issues.

A resolution introduced in the Faculty Senate passed with 85 percent of the vote. The resolution specified six actions that Atlas has taken that "promote a view of COVID-19 that contradicts medical science."

"We call on university leadership to forcefully disavow Atlas's actions as objectionable on the basis of the university's core values and at odds with our own policies and guidelines concerning COVID-19 and campus life," the resolution said.

Actions cited by the faculty include: misrepresenting knowledge and opinion regarding the management of pandemics, discouraging the use of masks and other protective measures, endangering citizens and public officials, and showing disdain for established medical knowledge.

The Stanford resolution also specifically singled out a tweet from Atlas that called on the people of Michigan to "rise up" against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) new public health measures. 

Atlas later clarified he was not trying to promote violence, but federal authorities earlier this year said they intercepted a plot by domestic terrorists in Michigan to kidnap Whitmer and bring her to a remote location outside the state to have her "stand trial" for the "crimes" they believed she had committed against citizens of the state and their freedoms.  

The resolution is the latest attempt by members of the university to distance themselves from Atlas, who is a neuroradiologist with no training in infectious diseases. In a statement issued Monday, the school said the views of Atlas are "inconsistent with the university's approach in response to the pandemic."

According to the daily campus newsletter Stanford Report, Atlas was also criticized during the faculty senate meeting by Condoleezza Rice, the director of the Hoover Institution and former secretary of State under President George W. Bush.

According to the Report, Rice called his tweet about Michigan "offensive and well beyond the boundaries of what is appropriate for someone in a position of authority, such as the one he holds."

Atlas joined the White House coronavirus task force over the summer after making numerous appearances on Fox News.

Atlas emerged as one of Trump's most influential advisers, but he has come under fire from public health experts inside and outside the administration who accuse him of feeding the president - and the public - misinformation.

Atlas has promoted so-called herd immunity as a means of getting the pandemic under control, a strategy that would limit lockdown measures to only segments of the community deemed "at risk" while allowing all other members of society to go about their daily lives normally, allowing the virus to run its course. 

After appearing publicly next to Trump at events throughout the summer, Atlas was not present at Thursday's task force media briefing, which was led by Vice President Pence.

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