Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kaler on Faculty Senate resolution: "It’s not a review of the Markingson case"

I think we're getting a pretty good idea of where the University of Minnesota administration plans to take the "independent review" endorsed by the Faculty Senate last week.  This interview with President Kaler appears in today's Minnesota Daily:

The Faculty Senate just passed its resolution to create an independent, external panel to investigate how the institution conducts clinical research on human subjects. What do you think of the most recent developments in the Dan Markingson case?

I’m a big believer in shared governance, and so I’m willing to take the advice of the Senate and the panel. ... I think they will find that our review processes are robust and that we do, in fact, protect patients in clinical trials, but there’s been concern raised in how we do that, and so our goal is to air out clearly and very publicly what we do and have a panel of external experts validate that and be sure we are doing this absolutely as well as can be done.

It’s certainly resulted as a consequence of a lot of repetitive publicity about the Markingson case, but it’s not a review of the Markingson case; it’s a review of what we are doing now and what we’re going to do moving forward.

This is something that began before you were president. What do you see as your role?

My role is to look forward, and as I said, that will be the charge of the panel.

And just to reinforce the point, the Daily editorial staff writes:

Though some, including University bioethicists and professors, may want more answers involving Markingson’s death, we should focus on avoiding potential tragedies and unethical behavior in the future.

The resolution passed by the Faculty Senate responded to an international call for an investigation into the death of Dan Markingson.  How would an investigation that avoids the Markingson case do anything to restore confidence in the university?

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