Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Faculty Senators demand explanation for secret draft of external research review

February 25, 2015

Dear Vice President Herman and Professor Durfee,

We are writing to you to express our grave concerns regarding the status of the AAHRPP’s review of clinical trials at the University of Minnesota. We have been informed that the AAHRPP has submitted a draft report to the administration prior to the release of the final report, which is due to be released no later than Friday, February 27, 2015.

Vice President Herman assured the public (and directly told some of us) that the administration would have no involvement in what was specifically meant to be an independent report. Yet the submission of a draft report to the administration prior to the release of a final draft opens the door to accusations that the administration exercised inappropriate influence on the content of the final report and hence jeopardizes the integrity of the independent review. The appearance of impropriety is reinforced by the lack of transparency regarding the administration’s access to a draft prior to the release of a final report. This unfortunate development undermines the central purpose of the report: to restore trust in the University.

To restore faith in the integrity and independence of the review, the administration should do the following:

1. Publicly release every draft of the report that was shown to anyone in the administration

 2. Provide a public explanation for any changes that were made between the initial and subsequent drafts that were sent to the administration.

The administration’s handling of this process threatens to undermine further the institution’s credibility with the legislature and the public. Full transparency is essential to address these concerns and ensure the credibility of the review.

Sincerely,

Teri L. Caraway, Associate Professor, Political Science
Francis Harvey, Associate Professor, Geography, Environment, & Society
Amy Kaminsky, Professor, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies
Rick McCormick, Professor, German, Scandinavian, & Dutch
William Messing, Professor, School of Mathematics
David Pellow, Professor, Sociology
Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor, American Studies
Naomi Scheman, Professor, Philosophy
JB Shank, Associate Professor, History
Karen-Sue Taussig, Associate Professor, Anthropology

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