Addressing Biden as “kiddo,” Epstein wrote in part: “A bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name?”
Epstein, the university said, has not been a lecturer there since 2003 — clarifying Epstein’s statement in the piece that he had “taught at Northwestern University for 30 years without a doctorate or any advanced degree.”
“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 school’s statement said.
Northwestern also removed Epstein’s profile from its website.
In response to a request for comment Sunday, Epstein, an author and essayist, 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.”
He had concluded his piece by writing, “As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now. Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.”
“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.
“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.
CNN’s longtime policy only refers to medical doctors as “Dr.” in its reporting, per its stylebook.
“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,” Emhoff wrote.
“The author could’ve used fewer words to just say ‘ya know in my day we didn’t have to respect women,'” he wrote.
This story has been updated with additional reaction.
CNN’s Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.