✔Fact Checker here.
Please read this in conjunction with the Chronicle article. Full text of Duke announcement below.
This is a very very weak response by the Brodhead Administration, which talks "transparency" out of one side of its mouth, and then refuses to detail what the investigation turned up out of the other.
Tell me Chancellor Dzau, Provost Lange: what did you mean when you promised "transparency" when you won't even tell us about the conclusion of an investigation, much less who sat in judgment. You guys give me real confidence!
Key point: The administration seems to be telling us that lying on your resume -- Potti presented one version to Duke when he was hired while seven different versions were to grant-makers like the federal government and American Cancer Society -- is not sufficient to get fired.
Even when you faked a Rhodes Scholarship, which incredibly the Chronicle story does not mention.
I reach the conclusion about fraud not sufficient to get Potti fired, since Duke says it must await outcome of other investigations before determining the penalty. In other words, we need more evidence to can this clown.
Mr. Brodhead, the word pusillanimous comes to mind.
Duke cleared up one fact: Potti does not enjoy tenure. Previously PR VP Schoenfeld had refused to confirm this.
And Duke added a new mystery: up until now we've been told there would be an "internal" investigation into Potti's credentials and an "external" investigation by an august body into his science. Two probes.
Now we are told two aspects of the investigation remain: the external investigation, plus a faculty misconduct investigation. Of course there is no explanation.
We are not told if any other Duke researchers are also under investigation.
✔Loyal Readers, let us remember this is not only about Potti. Duke cleared him, his mentor Dr. Joseph Nevins and another cancer researcher William Barry Ph.D. of ALL charges last winter. Imagine what will happen if -- correction -- Imagine what will happen when the independent science probe challenges Duke's earlier review.
Duke's administration serves only itself by not listing its own handling of the mess as a key issue. Come on Fact Checker, that would be too honest.
From the Cancer Letter: "When questions about Potti’s science emerged in scientific literature and in alarms sounded by internal critics, the Duke administration formed a protective barrier around the man they considered their star, forming committees that operated in secret, and then incorrectly portraying the findings of one of these committees as validation of Potti’s science."
Tonight's announcement shamefully does not mention the 107 to 109 cancer patients who are currently enrolled in Potti's human experiments. Most have breast cancer, some lung cancer. They gave up other therapies to join Potti's research -- trusting Duke's own endorsement of it. Has Duke even informed these people that they are being treated in a manner that no one outside this institution -- and many in it -- has any confidence in whatsoever?
Last point: I must wonder what role Mr Brodhead's new formulation of integrity played. Unreported by the Chronicle, our president told the Herald-Sun editorial board two weeks ago that we might find truth, we might find lies, and we might find "intermediate explanation" on Potti's resume. That's one hell of a message to send to the freshmen about our Honor Code, and I wonder if "intermediate explanation" is involved.
Duke played the oldest trick in the PR handbook, waiting until late Friday afternoon when everyone is in get-a-way mode, to make this announcement. But Mr. Schoenfeld, you did not fool Fact Checker!!
✔Thanks for reading FC.