When I criticize the Post-modern American University as an institution, I often find myself drawn to write up some detestable maleficence taking place on the campus of Duke University. This isn’t the fault entirely of Duke Students or their alums. It’s just that the people running this institution have become so bad and so corrupted in an infinite variety of ways that it was absolutely no accident that Duke University was the satirical model singled out by Tom Wolfe in I Am Charlotte Simmons.
Duke University becomes the caricature of a bad stereotype for a myriad number of past sins. Lacrossegate involving the false rape indictments against Duke Lacrosse Players Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty was a veritable bonfire of the social justice warrior vanities. It was the Social Justice tantrum by the Duke Faculty Group of 88 that told us more about the profession of academia in America than anything involving the actual rape trial. A social disaster is what occurs when pushing a political agenda is more important than giving three accused felons their constitutional right to a presumption of innocence.
Duke was further demeaned when one of its students was “outed” as an actress in revolting and dehumanizing hard-core porn productions. Again, the actions of perverted member of the student body and a few idiots who publicized it the most salacious fashion imaginable weren’t the big picture. What was detestable was the university not taking any action. There were members of the Women’s Studies faculty who thought the whole porn for text book money thing was liberating. They were willing to excuse literally any base depravity as long as they received the all-important tuition dollars.
And now they’ve drilled through even more bedrock to reach a new bottom. The Duke University Medical Center is now in court for hawking a cancer diagnosis tool that contributed to the death of a woman who participated in a medical trial. The suit alleges that the university knew that the tool was based on falsified medical research by disgraced Physician Anil Potti who has had nearly half of his professional work retracted or corrected for malfeasance in research conduct.
The experimental treatment that purportedly contributed to the death of Juliet Jacobs was produced by a corporation known as CancerGuide which was partially chaired by Potti and his frequent coauthor Dr. Joseph Nevins. The Triangle News reports on the impending legal fight over CancerGuide.
Defendants admitted they stood to gain three major things if they found something important: (1) enhanced ‘reputation,’ (2) make money, and (3) obtain more patients, students and professors from a ‘tag-on effect. (According to the Plaintiff’s Attorney)”
And Potti’s fraudulent company is now disowning Dr. Potti as rapidly as the journals demanding retractions of his previously published work.
“The CancerGuide Board of Directors and investors strongly believe that based on Duke’s knowledge and confers about data …, Duke should not have licensed this technology to CancerGuide or encouraged investors to fund the company,” according to a motion filed by Henson based off the deposition of Dzau.(CEO of Duke Health)
So Duke University let bad research slip through and someone died. Tragic, yes; but not necessarily evil. Except that there were interested faculty members who knew bloody well Potti was making it up to get it published. When Duke Medical Student, Bradford Perez raised concerns over whether Potti was doing legitimate science, he was quashed. He coauthored with Potti and saw questionable things happening with research his name was on. He later released a memo that described what he saw as a fraud. He was predictably punished for his defense of the truth.
Perez, who is currently a resident at Duke, said the controversy he triggered had caused him to repeat his third year of medical school. “In the course of my work in the Potti lab, I discovered what I perceived to be problems in the predictor models that made it difficult for me to continue working in that environment,” he said in an email to The Cancer Letter. “I raised my concerns with my laboratory peers, laboratory supervisors and medical school administrators and left it to them to determine how best to proceed. I chose to take an additional year to complete medical school in order to have a more successful research experience. My decision to stay at Duke was based on it being the best opportunity both personally and professionally.”
So again the lust for fame and fortune has superseded any notion of a university being a place where scholars launch an impartial search for knowledge and enlightenment. Duke University gets money and renown. Potti and Nevins rake in the clams through a front corporation, the patient? Forget the patient! Two out of three ain’t bad. The social institution of academia has increasingly morphed itself into a self-licking dog feces ice cream cone.
And so again, I slam Duke University. They are perfect in their culpability. The transparent dishonesty and shoddy ethics rife throughout the establishment are like a caricature of a bad stereotype. Is it fair of me to malign this institute? Sure it is. We saw how they treat their patients and their students when someone stands in the way of them making a name or making a buck. I’ll borrow a famous cliche from an old arch-enemy to describe both Duke University and Post-modern American Academia as a whole: “Screw ‘em. They’re mercs!”