Friday, May 8, 2015

For the Record: My three minutes at the Regent's Public Forum #Markingson

Presentation to the Board of Regents, May 7, 2015

Members of the Board of Regents:

I am a retired medical school faculty member, Bill Gleason. Since 2009, I have made about 100 blog posts on the Markingson tragedy.

From the call for this meeting:

The public forum is an opportunity to provide input to the Board. The Board will not engage in a discussion or a question/answer session.”

Such opportunities are sadly rare. Apparently this is a way for the public to vent, the Regents nominally having done their duty to obtain public input. We are at this meeting today because previously you have NOT paid attention to the community in the Markingson scandal. You have ignored them. Many times. Your lack of action is very disappointing to me as an alumnus. Perhaps you have depended too much on the advice of the stonewalling General Counsel's Office?

For example:

In 2010 you dismissed the request of eight U of M bioethicists who asked for an outside review of the Markingson tragedy. As I wrote five years ago in MinnPost:

I am deeply disappointed in this head in the sand behavior. It is not going to do our reputation any good. Major changes are needed in the Department of Psychiatry - and elsewhere in the med school - to restore our good name.

A tiny fraction of people are involved in this unethical behavior. The great majority of U of M docs are wonderful people - it is sad to see them pilloried for the gutless behavior of a few, and now the Regents.”

Another example shows how out of touch the Regents appear to be:

Former Gov Carlson wrote a letter to the legislature and noted that he had brought his concerns about research misconduct to the Board Chairman:

"Beeson’s response was that it 'has not risen to the level of our concern.' When pressed on the negative publicity, he could only offer that 'it has not hurt our brand.'”

To the contrary, our brand has obviously been badly hurt.

These examples cause me to ask:

Is no one on the Board of Regents going to take any responsibility for this situation?

Is anyone going to apologize for multiple mistakes and say that they are sorry?

Finally, I point out something obvious. You don't put the fox in charge of the hen house. People responsible for the Markingson fiasco are now being put in charge of fixing it. And we are being asked to trust them? This situation is ethically the same as putting Dr Furcht on the panel to draw up conflict of interest rules. This was done at our university.

And how did that work out?

Three minutes is not much time. I guess that is the point.

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