Following left-wing outrage over an op-ed writer who dared suggest that Jill Biden — who is not a medical doctor but is the wife of President-elect Joe Biden — should drop her beloved “Dr.” title, a Canadian college’s media relations department has revamped its editorial policy and now will bestow the title upon all doctorate holders regardless of discipline.
What’s the background?
Author Joseph Epstein
argued in his piece for the Wall Street Journal that Biden shouldn’t use the “Dr.” title because her doctorate is neither in medicine nor science but in education.
His op-ed — “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.” — noted:
Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? “Dr. Jill Biden” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic. Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.” A wise man once said that no one should call himself “Dr.” unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.
Left-wing howls followed. News anchors were aghast. Pundits were perturbed. Social media movers and shakers demanded Epstein’s head on platter.
And that kinda happened, as
Northwestern University — where Epstein had lectured — canceled its associations with him for the grave misdeed and called his op-ed “misogynistic.”
Is it getting chilly in here, or is just me?
Right after Epstein’s op-ed ran, a University of British Columbia math professor posted the following tweet:
For my UBC colleagues who are reacting to the Wall Street Journal article on Dr Biden’s use of “Dr” in her public l… https://t.co/q9kttX3zPB
— Mark Mac Lean (@Mark Mac Lean)1607847960.0
A few days later, the school’s media relations department changed its policy regarding the “doctor” title. Here’s more from its news release:
Until recently, the response from UBC Media Relations was that, as a general rule, we follow Canadian Press (CP) style for our press releases and media materials. In CP style, the professional title “Dr.” is used only for licensed health care professionals, such as physicians, dentists and veterinarians. We follow CP style so that the stories we write are consistent with the style used by hundreds of media outlets across Canada.
At UBC Media Relations, we have a great deal of respect for members of our academic community who have demonstrated the ability and perseverance needed to obtain a doctoral degree, the highest level of academic credential.
UBC also strives to be a community in which equity is embedded in all areas of academic, work and campus life. As such, it is imperative that UBC press releases and media materials are reflective of the university’s ongoing commitment to fostering equity, diversity and inclusion in our community. Just as UBC Media Relations recently updated our style guide to recognize our faculty members’ preferred pronouns, so too will we now also recognize their academic titles.
The department now will use the “Dr.” title “in front of the names of any faculty, staff member, or postdoctoral scholar who has been awarded a doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia or other post-secondary institutions”; the “Dr.” title will be used in first and all succeeding references; the department will defer to individuals who desire a different designation, the news release added.
(H/T: The College Fix)