Northwestern University 'Disagrees' With Joseph Epstein's Controversial Remarks About Dr. Jill Biden

Dr. Jill Biden
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Northwestern University of pushing back against Joseph Epstein, a former lecturer who, in an op-ed published Friday by the Wall Street Journal, declared that first lady Jill Biden should not use the "Dr." title because she has a doctorate in education.

Northwestern University is pushing back against Joseph Epstein, a former lecturer who, in an op-ed published Friday by the Wall Street Journal, declared that soon-to-be First Lady Jill Biden should not use the "Dr." honorific because she has a doctorate in education, and not an MD, according to reports. 

"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 university wrote in a statement about the professor.

"Northwestern is firmly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, and strongly disagrees with Mr. Epstein’s misogynistic views."

The institution also said that Epstein has not been a professor at the institution since 2003, and removed his name from its website, CNN reported.

In his piece that prompted public dismay and criticism, Epstein wrote that Biden using such a title "sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic."

He also addressed Biden as "kiddo."

Northwestern's Department of English also responded to the op-ed, reiterating that Epstein has not taught there for nearly 20 years and his opinion "cases unmerited aspersion on Dr. Jill Biden's rightful public claiming of her doctoral credentials and expertise."

"The Department rejects this opinion as well as the diminishment of anyone's duly-earned degrees in any field, from any university"

Biden earned her doctorate in education of the University of Delaware in 2007, according to her official biography.

In response to a request for comment Sunday, Epstein told CNN in an email, "No comment, apart from saying that I thought mine a lightly humorous piece, but I fear there isn't much humor in the world, especially among the politically correct."

Michael LaRosa, a spokesperson for Biden, deemed the piece a "disgusting and sexist attack" in a tweet.

"If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her," he wrote.

Paul Gigot, the Journal's editorial page editor, went on to defend Epstein's piece on Sunday afternoon, rejecting requests to remove it. Gigot argued that the public disapproval of the piece was the Biden's team's "chance to use the big gun of identity politics to send a message to critics as it prepares to take power," CNN reported.

"If you disagree with Mr. Epstein, fair enough. Write a letter or shout your objections on Twitter. But these pages aren't going to stop publishing provocative essays merely because they offend the new administration or the political censors in the media and academe," he concluded.

Doug Emhoff, the husband of Kamala Harris, wrote in a tweet that if Biden had been a man, the comments would "never" have been made.

"Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man."

Biden herself did not address the editorial directly, but on Sunday, tweeted: "Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished."