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June 16, 1993 - Image 1

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1993-06-16

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4W Smer Weekly 4v
One hundred two years of editorial freedom
'Volume C11, No. 9S Ann Arbor, Michigan - Wednesday, June 16, 1993 k1993 The Michigan Daily



Feds, 'U' tangled
in alleged fraud

Yes, it's that time of year again - the orientees are back in full force. LSA junior Kiarma
Cheatom points out the LSA Building while the first batch of orientees takes a break on the steps
of Angell Hall during their walking tour.
mmittee working on alcohol
pol'cy, should be ready Fall

On the surface, the University's
role in dealing with accusations of
scientific misconduct seems straight-
forward: It must investigate claims,
file a report with the government and
wait for the outcome.
But what happens when the presi-
dent of the University also holds a
major position in the organization that
oversees investigations of scientific
fraud at the University?
The issue arose recently over an
the University, which was later re-
ported to the National Science Board
(NSB), a federal agency that oversees
University President James Duderstadt
is chair of the board.
While Duderstadt says he has not
become entangled in the case, govern-
ment investigators have made accusa-
tions of a botched University investi-
The case began in 1989 when a
former University researcher accused
her mentor of stealing her scientific
theories in order to obtain a federal
research grant.
The researcher, Carolyn Phinney,
accused Marion Perlmutter of the In-
stitute of Gerontology of stealing her
theories on wisdom and aging and us-
ing them to secure a grant from the
National Science Foundation (NSF).
Phinney reported the allegations to
the institute's director, Richard
Adelman, who in turn reported the
information to William Kelly, the
University'svice presidentforresearch.
The University formed a committee to
conductan internalinvestigationofher
At her trial, Phinney maintained
that the University botched its internal
investigation and that Adelman at-
tempted to discredit her. She argued
that Adelman feared theinstitute would
lose a $6.1million grant from the NSF.

The University sent its findings to
the NSF -the standard procedure for
any allegation of fraud involving fed-
eral research funds.
The NSF's response to Kelly read:
"We feel that the investigation was
flawed to such an extent thatif this had
been amore serious case we wouldnot
have been able to accept this investiga-
The letter went on to say that lim-
pursuing a federal investigation. The
NSF said it would not penalize the
University if Kelly responded to its
concems about the formatof theinves-
tigation--inparticular, the makeup of
the investigating committee and the
committee's definition of plagiarism.
One month later, Kelly wrote back
in an attempt to satisfy NSF concerns.
He defended the committee'smakeup,
but did not address the NSF's ques-
tions about the University's definition
of plagiarism.
The NSF is required to report al-
Theproblem, says one former NIH
researcher, is that the NSB is chaired
by University of Michigan President
James Duderstadt. The NSB handles
allegations of scientific fraud through
its Office of the Inspector General
"It appears that there is a conflict-
of-interest with OIG's decision not to
investigateacase involving the univer-
sity whose president also serves as
chair of OIG's governing body," said
Walter Stewart, who investigated sci-
entific fraud for the NIH until May.
The OIG will not confirm or deny
whether it received a report on the
Phinney case from the NSF,saying it's
NSF policy not tocomment on anopen
OIG counsel Montgomery Fischer
open - although NSF said in 1992
that it would not pursue an investiga-
See FRAUD, Page 8

0 Students, staff and faculty attempt-
ing to enjoy a cold beer on the Diag
when classes resume in September,
may have more to worry about than
open-container laws.
TheUniversity's AlcoholandOther
DrugsCommitteeiscurrently working
on a permanent alcohol policy that
would replace the existing interim one.
The committee, whichincludesstu-
.ients and faculty members, is still in
the discussion stage while it reviews
federal regulations, academic articles
and information concerning Univer-
sity liabilities.
The board is also examining rec-
ommendations from the University's
as well as various policies that exist at
other Big Ten schools.
Committee Chair Delores Sloan
*said, however, that the final project
would be Michigan-oriented.
Although Sloan, an associate dean
of students, said she wanted to leave
muchof the decision-makingup to the

committee, she didexpressheropinion
that an agreement must be reached.
"I think we really need to come up
with a compromise between student
development and risk management,"
she stated. "And we need to get a
philosophicalbase before we canreach
that compromise."
Center Consultant and committee
member Beth Adler stressed the im-
portance of student input on the devel-
oping policy.
"The nice part about (the commit-
tee) is that half are students," she said.
Yet one of the student committee
members, Michigan Student Assem-
bly Vice President Brian Kight, ques-
tioned the necessity of a new policy in
light of the sanctions currently listed in
the Statement of Student Rights and
Responsibilities as well as in the in-
terim policy.
"Ijust want a clearer scope on how
this is going to fit into the existing
structure," he said.
Adlersaidthestatementis toobroad
to encompass federally mandated leg-

islation, thereby creating a need for a
more specific alcohol policy.
The federal law stipulates that stu-
hazards associated with drug and alco-
hol use, state and local drug laws, and
counseling available to students.
Kight disagreed, saying the state-
ment does fulfillthe legalrequirements
concerning the sanctions.
"As far as making new sanctions, I
don't think (they) shouldbe changed,"
he said.
But he qualified, saying the re-
quired list of health hazards should be
incorporated into the existing state-
Another aspect the developing
policy might include is the sanctioning
of alcohol use off-campus.
Kight expressed reservations con-
cerning the regulation of student be-
havior outside University property.
'My personal opinion isthat unless
the University can show that your be-
havior can impact the academic envi-
ronment, (it doesn't) have the right,"
he said.

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