About 20 months ago, Dr. Michael Wilkes of UC-Davis and a colleague wrote an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, “PSA tests can cause more harm than good.” hours after that editorial was published, UC Davis administrators kicked off a series of steps to remove Wilkes from leadership positions he had held.
Dr Wilkes questioned the validity of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening test and the motivations behind UC Davis offering a seminar for the public talking up the “benefits” of PSA but not the potential costs or the doubts over the utility of the test. The course was presented by a number of “experts” including two urologists and a professional football player who informed men of “everything they needed to know about PSA statistics at age 40”.
Just hours after Wilkes editorial was published Insidehighered.com reported that UC Davis administrators emailed him and started a process to remove him from various positions within the institution for criticising the seminar publicly. An academic freedom committee upheld allegations that Wilkes had been intimidated and harassed over the article.
The academic community has rallied around Wilkes and asked that the UC Davis administration consider that it has made a grave error of judgement in seemingly attempting to suppress Dr Wilkes academic freedom to comment on matters of ethics and evidence.