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University president reprimanded for ‘liking’ tweets that push back on transgender child surgery

The president of Thomas Jefferson University, Mark Tykocinski, was publicly rebuked after he “liked” tweets that called transgender surgery for minors “child mutilation” and also cast doubt on the COVID-19 vaccines, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“At his level, he is held to a higher standard and should have known better,” Thomas Jefferson University CEO Joseph G. Cacchione reportedly wrote in a message Sunday to Jefferson faculty, employees and students. 

Tykocinski is a Yale-trained molecular immunologist who has worked at Jefferson University for 16 years. Cacchione is a physician and health care executive. 

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The president of Thomas Jefferson University, Mark Tykocinski (not pictured), was publicly rebuked after he “liked” tweets that called transgender surgery “child mutilation” and also cast doubt on the COVID-19 vaccines, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. (Marcus Dorsey/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The Inquirer also indicated that Cacchione’s email reprimand of Tykocinski came just one day after the outlet published a story on the university president’s “like” history from his Twitter account.

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson featured heavily in The Inquirer’s story, with the outlet reporting that Tykocinski liked Berenson’s posts “nearly 30” times. Berenson has spoken out publicly against COVID vaccine mandates and other pandemic-era government restrictions and policies.

Berenson himself also highlighted the incident to his over 485,000 followers on Twitter. 

“Dr. Mark Tykocinski is a 70-year-old immunologist with an spotless academic record. His crime appears to be liking my tweets,” Berenson wrote. 

“Academic freedom is dead,” he added.

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The Inquirer also claimed that it found one tweet in Tykocinski’s “like” history that was against transgender surgeries for children. 

Tykocinski later apologized to the school community for his “like” history, also explaining to The Inquirer that he “liked” tweets to bookmark them and “to learn more about the subject matter or the particular viewpoint.” 

It is common practice on Twitter for users to indicate that “liking” a post does not necessarily equate to endorsing a tweet or the person behind the tweet.

“I regret my lack of understanding of how ‘liking’ a tweet is an implied endorsement,” Tykocinski told The Inquirer. “I also regret how my lack of understanding of the Twitter platform caused some to question my views on these complex issues.”

The university president also said that he does not believe vaccines are harmful and that he and all the members of his family have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to The Inquirer.

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Tykocinski and Thomas Jefferson University did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. 

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