Evidently, the recent edition of the New Atlantis touched a few nerves in the LGBTQI community, specifically at the so-called “Human Rights Campaign.” At any rate, the HRC has roundly denounced New Atlantis for drawing unacceptable conclusions about homosexuality and transgenderism. Now the people at New Atlantis have published a response. Here’s part of it.

The Human Rights Campaign attempts to preemptively argue that its political assault on Johns Hopkins and its scholars poses no threat to academic freedom, precisely because the HRC recognizes that the public will see this assault for what it is: an obvious threat to academic freedom, and intentionally so. The HRC says that it “has been in communication with Johns Hopkins over the need for an official statement” about the New Atlantis report. The HRC is demanding that the university “clarify that McHugh and Mayer’s opinions do not represent it.” As leverage, the HRC has threatened to alter the way that it ranks the university’s hospital and its medical affiliates in HRC’s Health care Equality Index.

Set aside the fact that this threat calls into question the methodology and validity of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index. This blatant effort to intimidate Johns Hopkins University by insisting that the entire university must answer collectively for everything written by its faculty is a disturbing strategy designed to make impossible respectful disagreement in the academy on controversial matters. The HRC’s claim that its efforts “pose no threat to academic freedom” is nonsense; intimidation tactics of this sort undermine the atmosphere of free and open inquiry that universities are meant to foster.