Email from Lazar Greenfield on Valentine's Day editorial
Dr. Lazar Greenfield, a prominent University of Michigan retired surgery professor, sent the following email to AnnArbor.com and other media today regarding the Valentine's Day editorial that resulted in his resignation as president-elect of the American College of Surgeons:
"The reports surrounding my resignation as President-elect of the American College of Surgeons lead readers to conclude that I represent an old-guard generation that represses women in surgery. Since nothing could be further from the truth, I can no longer remain silent in an attempt to protect the organization. These are the facts:
- The editorial was an opinion-piece written for a monthly throw-away newspaper, not a scientific journal. It reaches supposedly mature readers interested in new discoveries.
- The biochemical properties of semen that were reviewed have been documented in peer-reviewed journals and represent the remarkable way that Nature promotes bonding between men and women, not something demeaning.
- My light-hearted comment related to Valentine's Day was intended to amuse readers, but some found it offensive, so I extended sincere apologies and resigned as Editor-in-Chief of the paper. No one questioned my intent, since I have a long record of recruiting and promoting women in surgery.
- That was not sufficient for some women who convinced the leadership that I was unsuited for the Presidency to which I had been elected. Facing threats of demonstrations by women at any medical meetings I might attend, I resigned.
I had hoped to make my experience one that others could learn from by appearing at meetings of women surgeons to discuss forms of hidden or unconscious discrimination, but that did not fit their agenda. There should have been a way to reach a less destructive outcome.
So lets reverse the situation, and say that a woman editor wrote something that some men found offensive. After they voiced their history of repression, she decided it would be best for the paper if she resigned as Editor. But that wasn't enough, and other men's organizations demanded that she resign as the incoming elected President. The conclusion is obvious: men are ruthless and vindictive."