An Open Letter to the President and Provost of the University of Chicago: Save Our School

Originally sent directly by email Wednesday, January 12, 2022, from Professor Rachel Fulton Brown, Department of History, The University of Chicago

Dear Paul and Ka Yee,

The mainstream narrative is starting to shift. We are going to lose our brand if it shifts and we are not in front of it. WE are the University of Chicago. WE ask the Big Questions and risk being out on the edge of scientific research. WE are the scholars who do not simply follow the trends, but set them. 

We have embarrassed ourselves for too long—ever since we fell in step with everyone else over the fear. WE should have been the ones with faculty publishing op-eds calling for transparency in testing, not the ones locking our students in their dorm rooms. WE should have been the ones signing the Great Barrington Declaration and siding with SCIENTISTS and DOCTORS who have been willing to risk their careers rather than let their patients die because they wouldn't treat them except at the government’s direction.

NOW is the time. NOW is the time for US, the University of Chicago, to stand out. Or be buried in the avalanche of lawsuits that is surely coming. 

Some things you could do IMMEDIATELY: 

1. MAKE PUBLIC that you have granted exemptions to those of us who refused to consent to being part of a giant experiment which from the beginning has been compromised by politics and haste. 

2. MAKE PUBLIC which of our faculty were courageous enough to sign the Great Barrington Declaration and stand for SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY over POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING.

3. MAKE PUBLIC that we have students intelligent enough to see through the gaslighting and fear to the real questions we should be asking about what it means to be a great school.

PLEASE. SAVE OUR SCHOOL. THIS IS UP TO YOU. Trust me, I have been on the receiving end of protests from our alumni. They don’t pull punches.


P.S. If you doubt me, this op-ed from one of Emily’s field colleagues in Tel Aviv makes the argument better than I could:

Sent from my iPad

It’s not too late! Sign the Great Barrington Declaration today. 

Read what our students are saying over at The Chicago Thinker

Check out these many early treatment options

Live up to our brandGet out in front of the curve. Stop the vaccine mandates and asymptomatic testing, get rid of the lockdowns and masks, and let us back into the classroom to study and learn. 

We are the School of the Phoenix, not of lab rats or mice. 


  1. I applaud your letter and the sentiments behind it. That it comes from you is no surprise, I have watched your courage and grace over the years with real admiration. As rare as courage is in academia, however, it is even harder to locate in administrative circles. There is a reason why powers that subscribe to failed policy double down on their failure even after their foundation begins to crumble: panic. They are unlikely to suddenly see reason, for they were probably always aware of more plausible narratives, no they will keep their heads down, remain silent, tacitly lending their support behind failed and failing policy narratives that have and will continue to cost lives, for the simple reason that they hope to evade personal blame by being invisible. There is nothing more horrifying to an administrator than a public mea culpa, and nothing, not even the certainty of the revelation of their cowardice that can convince them to take such a step. They were one among many and pray that will be enough to save them. But keep fighting the good fight. Gott mit uns.

  2. Good points all. The University is lucky to have had you show them a way through to the other side. Here's hoping that, against type, the administrators pay heed.

  3. Rachel, I assume you know him? University of Chicago associate professor Dorian Abbot takes a stand against Wokeism.


    1. Yes, of course! We have a website and everything:

    2. I see. You are in good company it seems.

  4. I hope the Administration finds their courage and speaks up. The truth really does set one free.

    1. depends on whether the admin is infiltrated with enough executives to deny any scientific investigation

  5. I'm not sure this is in keeping with UC's free speech tradition?



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