[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[SANET-MG] recent developments with Chapela
I think Chapela is wise to seek a remedy through the courts. The main
objection to Chapela seems to be a yeast geneticist, Rine, who was in an
apparent conflict of interest because he was taking money from a
corporation patenting GM corn. According to Rine's web site UC Berkeley
considered him a stellar teacher because he assured the students facts
were not important. He seems to have been most successful in that regard
and carried his philosophy to faculty evaluation. Clearly, the
university faculty have no regards for full and truthful reporting and
much prefer public relations and greenbacks. A jury of people is likely
to have regard for the truth an apparent deficiency in faculty and
IGNACIO CHAPELA WILL TAKE HIS TENURE CASE TO COURT from Claire Robinson
There has been a new development in UC Berkeley scientist Ignacio
Chapela's legal fight to gain tenure, which was refused amid a furore
about conflicts of interest within the university. The university's
Academic Senate tenure committee is now recommending a formal senate
hearing, which could drag on for months.
Chapela, a microbial ecologist, was an outspoken critic of a $25 million
agreement between the school's College of Natural Resources and biotech
giant Novartis. He was also the first to report the contamination of
backyard maize plots in the Mexican state of Oaxaca with DNA from GM
corn - part of a paper that was published and later more or less
disowned by the journal Nature after it was attacked by pro-biotech
Administrators offered Chapela a deal last month: If he would drop two
claims he has filed with government agencies - that the university is
discriminating against him because he is Hispanic, and that it is
punishing him for speaking out against the Novartis deal - then a new
budget committee would reconsider his tenure bid.
Chapela, however, refuses to waive the claims. He is eager for a public
airing of the process, which he hopes will clear his name. Barring that,
he's determined to take it to the courts. "It's obvious to me that
negotiations in the university are not going to lead to a resolution of
my case," he says. "I wish I was in court right now."
Chapela came up for review in September 2001. His colleagues in the
Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management backed him
32-1. Their decision was approved by the college's acting dean, and then
by a campus-wide tenure-review committee which voted unanimously in
Chapela's favor - although its chair resigned shortly thereafter and
mysteriously disavowed himself of the decision. The next step, which
tends to be a formality, requires approval of the candidate by a campus
budget committee. In this case, the committee, which makes final
recommendations to the chancellor, voted to deny tenure.
Campus administrators were unwilling to comment on how this happened.
But the Academic Senate's own tenure committee, to which Chapela has
submitted fourteen grievances related to the process, concluded this
summer that Chapela's "rights and privileges were violated, citing both
a conflict of interest and an "unjustifiable delay" in the process.
The former involved Jasper Rine, a professor of genetics and
developmental biology who sat on the budget committee when it authored
the initial decision to nix Chapela's bid. His former company, Acacia
Biosciences, had business dealings with Novartis, and Rine also served
on a committee that oversaw the controversial Novartis pact. The chair
of the campus tenure-review committee and the dean of the College of
Natural Resources both had asked him to remove himself from the Chapela
decision, but to no avail.
Rine declined to comment, but Chapela's attorney was more than willing.
"People who have a clear interest in the corporate development of
genetic engineering should not be involved in academic decisions of this
nature," says the lawyer, Daniel Siegel. "This is so obvious. It's like
asking Dick Cheney to choose the Democratic vice presidential candidate."
To unsubscribe from SANET-MG:
1- Visit http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html to unsubscribe or;
2- Send a message to <firstname.lastname@example.org> from the address subscribed to the list. Type "unsubscribe sanet-mg" in the body of the message.
Visit the SANET-MG archives at: http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html
For more information on grants and other resources available through the SARE program, please visit http://www.sare.org.