Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What was missing at the Rotenberg celebration

It wasn’t all champagne and heartfelt tributes at the farewell ceremony for Mark Rotenberg last week.  Sure, there was a lot of expensive jewelry and tailored suits.  But there was also plenty of good-natured ribbing, not to mention some wacky video clips of office hijinks.  Who knew that university attorneys could dance the Macarena?

My favorite part of the ceremony came at the end, when the audience was treated to a PowerPoint presentation about how much money Mark Rotenberg had generated for the university. Yes, Rotenberg makes considerably more money than the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. But when you look at that salary in larger economic terms, you see just what a terrific investment he has been.  Plus, as the audience was reminded, university attorneys could be making so much more money in the private sector.  Yet they have chosen public service.  (Pause here for cheers and applause.)

I might have missed it, but I saw no mention of secret agreements to bury research fraud or filing a “notice to assess costs”  for $57,000 against the mother of a suicide victim. 


  1. What's really missing is the accounting of exactly how much Rotenberg cost the University by hiring outside firms to defend the likes of Chuck Schulz, Steve Olson, Jean Kenney....the list could go on and on. Why is nothing else ever considered a conflict of interest at the U except when it comes to defending malpractice or criminal behavior by some of it's researchers? Then they go out and spend the big bucks. How much do you think he really saved the U?

  2. It's not at all surprising that he's been picked up by Hopkins, another research institution with a long and (apparently) enduring history of extreme moral 'flexibility' when it comes to research integrity. It doesn't sound like much has changed since their federal research funding was suspended briefly in 2001 due to serious ethical breaches in human subjects research that led directly to a death--except their budget got larger. Mr. Rotenberg no doubt sees an enormous fertile field for his unique skillset.

  3. I’ll give Rotenberg credit for one thing while sitting atop the General Counsel for the U. He used all his skills mastered in law school and perfected the handling of negative publicity 101: delay, delay, delay until a lot of people have hopefully forgotten about what happened, and then deny, deny, and deny some more. The word combination of "internal investigation” often used by Rotenberg and others at the U in defending their handling of the Markingson death is a true oxymoron. The U investigating themselves and clearing themselves of any wrongdoing, now that’s pure Rotenberg.
    Had the Markingson case not been written about in the Pioneer Press, I often wonder just what “internal investigation” the U would have even done over the death of a human subject in a clinical trial. Actually, I know the answer, nothing. Why did it take the filing of a lawsuit to even get any kind of response from the U? Again, pure Rotenberg…if we don’t acknowledge any wrong doing, then therefore…it doesn't exist.
    Pure Rotenberg