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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Why I don't give to Northwestern University

Today, I sent this letter to the Dean of Northwestern University's graduate school:
Dear Dean Wachtel,

I received a letter today, signed by you, in which you request that I make a donation to the graduate school. As a graduate of Northwestern University's graduate school, I must emphatically say that I will not. You have disgraced the scientific community when you refused to disclose a report detailing the alleged ethical misconduct of J. Michael Bailey of the psychology department. As you know, some of the individuals who he interviewed for his book The Man who would be Queen on transgenders accused him of ethical violation of the most serious kind: he did not disclose to them that they were research subjects, and did not receive informed consent. One even alleged sexual contact with him as the research was ongoing. These are very serious allegations and I am ashamed to be associated with Northwestern University.

In my view, if the findings had indeed shown that these allegations were false, the university would not have hesitated to make these public. However, since we are dealing with a population with very little political cloud, a population that has little sway with the public, you were not forced to give a full disclosure of the findings and you chose to retain J. Michael Bailey as a tenured faculty member. The only effect was his removal from the chair of the department.

You make a statement on the graduate school's website about diversity. I don't believe you. Promoting diversity sometimes means that you have to be an ally to oppressed people against the faculty member who appears in the news paper every now and then. You cannot have it both ways.

I realize that this matter is already a couple of years old, but the stain on your school remains.

Niels Teunis

Assistant Professor

San Francisco State University

In case you wonder what this is all about, read the information on this website. And then you can read Bailey's own reply to the controversy his book caused. Note that he does not mention the ethical violations he is accused of.

This all happened a few years ago, but I am not allowing him to live it down.

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