Other scientists rushed to his defense, calling it a witch hunt, but the university's president said it was the right decision.
Sir Tim Hunt, a scientist who won the Nobel Prize in 2001 and had a position at University College London, has been forced to resign after making some controversial remarks about women in the laboratory.
Professor Michael Arthur, the president and provost of the university, was under pressure from many scientists urging him to take Hunt back, but Arthur stood firm in his decision to accept Sir Tim Hunt’s resignation, arguing that it was the right call at the end of the day, according to a Daily Mail report.
Arthur added that it would send the “wrong signal” to invite Hunt back after making remarks that contradict the values of UCL, even if said in jest.
The 72-year-old Hunt was at a South Korean conference recently when he joked that men and women should work in separate laboratories, because when they work together, they may fall involve with each other and the women will cry when criticized — comments that Hunt insists were made in a light-hearted manner.
Hunt received support from other Nobel Prize-winning scientists, who called it an overreaction and a manhunt that the scientist was pressured to resign, which he did so upon returning to the UK after a social media storm broke out.
Arther said the resignation was accepted in good faith and would remain in place despite pressure to reverse it. Although it was a difficult decision, he said, Hunt’s remarks create a potentially hostile environment for women and that inclusion and diversity were too important to the university to risk that.