From: D.J. Keenan
Date: 06 June 2008 20:48
To: Lynn Videka; Terri Casey
Cc: Adrienne D Bonilla
Subject: Misconduct Investigation
Dear Vice President Videka,
I am confused about the purpose of your letter of
May 23rd. Your letter says that the Investigation Committee has
completed its work and asks me for comments. Yet I am not allowed to see
the report on the investigation, nor learn anything about the
investigation's deliberations, until after my comments have been
submitted. I believe that this can be fairly described as
Kafkaesque. Nonetheless, I will submit some comments.
an investigation had been conducted came as a surprise to me, because the
university's Policy and Procedures on Misconduct in Research and Scholarship
states the following.
The President will make the final determination
whether the findings of the inquiry provide sufficient evidence of possible
misconduct to justify the initiation of an investigation....
President for Research shall notify the respondent, the complainant, all
persons involved in the inquiry (i.e., anyone who has been interviewed or
otherwise informed of the allegations) and the chair of CERS of the
Yet I was not notified of the President's
decision to initiate an investigation, until your letter of May
The Misconduct Policy
also contains other stipulations that have not been adhered to. In
particular, the policy states that the "Vice President for Research will also notify the complainant
in writing of the initiation of the investigation ...".
Again, I received no notification.
As well, the
Misconduct Policy stipulates the following, in the section "Initiation of
the Investigation" (prior to the section "Formation of the Investigation
When an investigation involves a sponsored
program through the Research Foundation, the Vice President for Research will
notify the Research Foundation of SUNY (Office of the General Counsel and
Secretary). The University will also notify relevant federal or other
external granting agencies and partnering institutions, in accordance with
applicable regulatory requirements.
Prof. Wang has directly received about
$7 million in research grants from the Department of Energy and the
National Science Foundation, and perhaps others. I ask you to send me a
copy of the letters that you sent to the DOE and the NSF. You are not
obligated to do this by the Misconduct Policy, but the letters do fall under the
purview of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Misconduct Policy further
stipulates that the "investigation process will include ... interviews with all
individuals involved ... in making the allegation ...". Indeed, that
would appear to be in accordance with natural justice--but it did not
An interview would seem to be particularly
important given that the Inquiry Committee made a "careful and thorough review
of the evidence" and then found that "documentation and input from
[Prof. Wang's co-worker] would be necessary to allow for any clear
determination". Because the investigation has now made a clear
determination, such documentation and input would be expected to be provided:
obviously then, such should have been discussed with me. If
documentation was not provided, then the investigation would contradict the
unanimous "necessary" finding of the Inquiry Committee.
All this would seem to give the appearance of a
cover-up, and breach federal regulations. I ask you to
considering conducting an investigation that meets
I have been involved with other allegations of
scientific fraud. In one case at Gothenburg University, the university
administration also stood by the accused professor. The university
president, Gunnar Svedberg, was criminally convicted of malfeasance (for his
role in refusing to make documents available), and afterwards resigned from the
Your actions would also seem to be illegal.
I contacted the Office of the Attorney General of New York State about this,
and reviewed the case with an attorney there, Hannah Long.
Ms. Long has now passed the case to another OAG attorney, but there is a
backlog, and it will be a few weeks before further work on this is
Douglas J. Keenan