Harvard criticised for being too lenient with Hauser

I don’t know to what extent the Harvard Crimson represents student opinion at Harvard but it is likely that they represent at least a substantial body of opinion among the student body.  In an editorial today, they come down very hard against what they perceive as being the rather lenient treatment of Marc Hauser by the University. He was found guilty of scientific misconduct, sent on a years “gardening” leave but kept his tenure and his lab. He was then allowed to return and continue his research but was not allowed to teach. He then resigned or was allowed to or invited to resign. The University investigation seems to be over though the Office of Research Integrity investigation into the misuse of Federal grants may still be ongoing.

The Crimson thinks that allowing him to save face was a little too lenient:

In April, we argued that Harvard should have taken a more aggressive stance in response to the findings of the investigative committee and fired Hauser. Hauser’s prohibition from further research and teaching would have been a logical consequence of his actions. It would have forcefully upheld the imperative for honesty and accuracy in the sciences. Tenure, a privilege given to distinguished professors, is no shield for academic misconduct.

.. despite (a) measure of closure that Hauser’s resignation brings to this situation, it remains that the University should have taken stronger and earlier disciplinary action against him. 

.. By firing Hauser, Harvard would have sent a firm message that academic dishonesty is not tolerated. In contrast, Hauser’s resignation is an evasion of full culpability and deemphasizes the gravity of his actions. Allowing Hauser to save face and graciously depart his position offers little recourse for the multitude of scientific malfeasances that were committed.

.. Harvard undergraduates are held to high standards regarding academic discipline—professors with positions of influence should be equally, if not more, accountable for their deeds. By refusing to take bold action and instead allowing for a willing resignation, the University has downplayed the severity of his academic dishonesty.

Strong words.

Of course the University has also been criticised by Hauser’s friends and supporters  for being too hard on him!

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