By Thom Nickels
A university president was forced to resign because he liked a series of tweets criticizing Marxist philosophies prevalent in Academe.
But only one year ago, the same university—Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia—was in love with President Mark L. Tykocinski.
Shortly after Tykocinski was hired in July 2022, a larger than life profile of him appeared in the Jefferson Alumni News. The lengthy feature covered nearly everything about the man, including the fact that he is the son of Holocaust survivors.
“Tykocinski’s parents were Holocaust survivors,” the profile stated.
“Natives of Poland, they endured Auschwitz and met in a displaced persons camp after the war. They married in 1947, immigrated to the United States in 1950 with their young daughter Annette, and settled on a chicken farm in Lakewood, New Jersey, where Mark Tykocinski was born in 1952. He says one of his most vivid childhood memories is that of standing on a crate, helping his mother candle eggs.”
Tykocinski, an internationally famous immunologist and researcher, was Jefferson’s former Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs before his promotion to president.
His fall from grace was more like a homicidal push.
The woke worm in Jefferson’s academic apple came to life when some students at the university realized that their new president was ‘liking’ tweets they categorized as right-wing.
These were tweets that questioned the validity of Covid vaccines, condemned child sex change mutilations and expressed skepticism about certain radical equity issues.
An alarm was sounded, attracting the attention of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city’s (woke) newspaper of record and discord.
The Inquirer immediately went to work checking all of the president’s tweets, which numbered in the hundreds, then published the results in an investigatory piece that played up the “right-wing” angle.
The idea that a major newspaper could pay reporters to investigate a university president’s tweets as if they were digging for facts behind a major crime is beyond shocking, especially since the end result (in today’s political climate) could only ruin the man’s life.
If merely liking a tweet is enough to cause a university president to resign, one wonders what writing an actual (offensive) tweet might warrant.
According to the standards at play here, that punishment could conceivably be the death penalty.
Understandably, Tykocinski tried to save face (and his job) by apologizing to the fascists, but — no surprise — the apology did no good. Leftists do not want to hear apologies after an offense has been committed. Any apology offered to the Left is met with resistance and even greater hostility.
Like a scene out of Robert Graves’ ‘I, Claudius,’ that apology will only garner another stab in the back.
Tykocinski noted in his apology that he does not believe vaccines are dangerous. He also made a point of saying that both he and his family members had all been vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I understand that my lack of knowledge of the Twitter platform created questions and unintentionally offended many,” he said. “Please be assured this will be a learning experience, and I will grow as a person and professional from this misstep.”
“I apologize to the Central Committee for thinking outside the box. I will try to be a good citizen going forward and not go against what I am told to believe.“
In his desperate attempt to save his job, Tykocinski even told the Inquirer that he had liked the tweets so that he could bookmark them in order to “learn more about the subject matter or the particular viewpoint.”
One liked tweet that the Inquirer took particular delight in reporting was from Donald Trump Jr.:
“Doctors lied and coerced a 13-year-old into an irreversible ‘gender affirming medical procedure.’ Now she is fighting back and suing them. Donate here to support the lawsuit and help stop child mutilations.”
The Inquirer also noted that before the story of Tykocinski’s ‘like history’ was published, the president had a total of 539 likes but that those likes went down to 348 and then to 203 after publication.
What is this if not a further condemnation of the man for having a very natural panic attack at seeing his world fall apart?
Tykocinski was even hounded in print by an Associate Professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Jessa Lingel, who objected to Tykocinski’s answer to the Inquirer when the newspaper asked him if he opposed child sex change surgeries.
Tykocinski told the Inquirer,
“This is not my clinical area of expertise. In general, any issue involving children should be referred to clinical experts at children’s hospitals who offer the full complement of services necessary.”
Lingel thinks that Tykocinski should have answered that question with a simple “no.”
“You shouldn’t need specialized understanding in pediatric care to recognize that trans-affirming care is simply part of health care and part of well-being,” she said. “It’s not a radical stance to say that trans-affirming care is not mutilation for children or anybody.”
The above statement illustrates Lingel’s ideological idiocy.
Sadly, Jefferson CEO, Dr. Joseph Cacchione, a colleague of Tykocinski’s, made no attempt to throw the president a life-line but instead told the press that Tykocinski was “careless” in his tweets, and that “he should have known better.”
Heartwarming words, indeed.
Tykocinski’s forced resignation attracted the attention of Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted in support of Tykocinski. Musk wrote:
“This is absurd. Shame on the CEO and board of trustees of Thomas Jefferson University.”
That shame is well placed.
An organization as large and wealthy as Jefferson University—it covers a good swath of Center City—can afford to be magnanimous and tolerate a variety of views within its organization rather than resorting to methods better suited to Communist China.
Like the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia, Jefferson University, a well-known teaching hospital and medical school located just a few blocks south and east of City Hall, has spent the last two decades buying up every property in its path.
Iconic old city diners were demolished to make way for yet another Jefferson cancer or dialysis center; historic buildings are and continue to be reformatted into new MRI imaging centers and labs of every description.
In many ways, Jefferson University is Center City Philadelphia.
In September of 2014, Philadelphia’s Southeastern Transportation Authority (SEPTA) sold the naming rights of its Market-Frankford El station for close to $4 million dollars.
The buyer was Jefferson University. Many transit riders balked at the name change because it smacked of the power of money and advertising rather than the organic roots of the station’s original name, Market Street East, which at least bore an historic relation to that part of downtown.
Finally, the Tykocinski case tells us that we need no further proof that academic freedom is dead.
Jefferson’s buildings may be big, shiny and brawny, but on the inside there’s a rot that hints of a growing moral decay.