publication date: Sep. 19, 2014

MD Anderson Cancer Center President Ronald DePinho and his executive leadership declined to meet with the investigation committee dispatched by the American Association of University Professors to his institution Thursday.

“We will not personally meet with representatives of a non-governing entity conducting an unauthorized investigation with a pre-determined outcome,” DePinho and his executive team wrote in a Sept. 17 email to MD Anderson faculty and staff.

The AAUP group is investigating a tenure dispute at MD Anderson. If they find MD Anderson at fault, the institution could face censure by the association, which promotes academic freedom and shared governance.

While DePinho and his team refused to meet with the investigators, their UT System superiors, Raymond Greenberg, executive vice chancellor for health affairs, and Daniel Sharphorn, general counsel and vice chancellor, agreed to be interviewed in a Sept. 19 teleconference.

“It does seem a little bit discrepant; doesn’t it?” Gregory Scholtz, associate secretary and director of the AAUP Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure and Governance, said to The Cancer Letter. “When we initially contacted both the MD Anderson administration and the UT System administration, we got a note back from Greenberg saying they would be happy to meet with the committee in person, or telephonically.

“He was gratifyingly friendly.”

The AAUP investigation was triggered by refusal on the part of the MD Anderson administration to provide justification for denying tenure renewals to two faculty members.

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