Following Jill Biden essay, Northwestern University distances itself from former lecturer Joseph Epstein

By: | December 15, 2020

Northwestern University has distanced itself from a former lecturer who penned a controversial op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that called for future first lady Jill Biden to drop the “Dr.” before her name.

Calling Biden’s use of the designation “fraudulent” and “a touch comic,” Joseph Epstein argued in the column published online Friday that she should drop the honorific since she has a doctorate in education and is not a doctor of medicine.

Epstein, described by the newspaper as a longtime contributor, goes on to reference his tenure at Northwestern. An NU official confirmed his emeritus status Monday though noted he has not lectured there since 2003.

“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,” Epstein wrote to start the piece.

The op-ed’s publication prompted a swift array of criticism nationwide. In a brief statement, Northwestern dubbed Epstein’s views “misogynistic” and said it is “firmly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion.”

“While we firmly support academic freedom and freedom of expression, we do not agree with Mr. Epstein’s opinion and believe the designation of doctor is well deserved by anyone who has earned a Ph.D., an Ed.D. or an M.D.,” the statement said.

Read more in the Chicago Tribune.