After Dr. Peet Morris posted several sexist remarks to his Twitter profile, he received immense backlash.
Academic spaces are, by and large, dominated by men. While we're seeing an uptick in the number of women attending higher education institutes and teaching at them, they experience disadvantages simply because they are women. A recent incident involving a former Oxford University lecturer displays why that might be. Taking to Twitter, Dr. Peet Morris, an IT expert with the prestigious Oxford University in the United Kingdom, claimed that women students show up to "black tie" events organized by the University "dressed like hookers." He also stated that women with "tummies" shouldn't wear tight clothes, The Daily Mail reports. Needless to say, critics slammed the lecturer for his statements. A University spokesperson has since released an official response to Dr. Morris' rather unwarranted and sexist remarks.
The statements first came to light when The Oxford Student, a student-run newspaper at the University of Oxford, published a report on his problematic tweets. According to the report, Dr. Morris had asserted on Twitter, "Some people these days have no idea what it means. Men turning up in lounge suits, women turning up dressed like hookers. Yes, I'm old." In addition to this, he made several other questionable remarks, including calling trans folk "the genders of flake" and adding, "As a man, I certainly feel an ever-increasing level of misandry and sexism against me." He also asserted that women shouldn't wear tight clothes if they had "tummies."
While it may have been acceptable to bemoan the alleged lack of respect for black tie traditions, his comments were, of course, inexcusable. Furthermore, after some research, it was discovered that the lecturer wasn't "old" by any means - he is only about 45 years old. Following the revealing article, Dr. Morris decided to delete the tweets as well as turn his public Twitter account to private. However, this did not stop individuals from voicing their opinions about the former lecturer's statements. Dr. Ben Briton, another academic, retorted on Twitter, "Saying 'I'm old' is a c**p excuse. Either rationalize the defense of your position or listen to the others talking. 'It's tradition' is weak, if the tradition is for tradition's sake." Yet another academic, Dr. J. Bernadette Moore, stated, "Yup... 'hooker.' Classic example of judgment women face!" University students, too, chimed in with their own criticisms, calling the remarks "sexist and inappropriate."
Shockingly, this is not the first time Dr. Morris has made indefensible statements. In the past, he agreed with now-United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson's comments regarding women who wear burkhas, claiming they looked like "letterboxes." The lecturer wrote, "Boris was right," in agreement with the right-wing politician. Furthermore, British media called Dr. Morris out a previous time when he told Muslim History and English teacher Aisha Ali Khan to "go home" if she wished to keep hold of "barbaric practices that subjugated women" while at a dinner held for academicians in the higher education sector. Khan told Metro.co.uk at the time, "As a woman of color, I felt singled out and victimized."
In response to the scandal, a University spokesperson affirmed, "Dr. Peet Morris is not an Oxford University or college academic. He holds a casual contract for services, delivering computer programming training with the IT Services department on an ad hoc basis, normally two to three days a term. Under our equality policy, the University of Oxford is committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity, and maintains an environment in which the rights and dignity of all are respected." Despite their assertions, however, Dr. Morris described himself as a "college lecturer in statistics" at St. Hilda's College on his personal blog. Perhaps recent events will persuade the University of Oxford to think more deeply about the individuals they hire.