Extreme Vetting: A Trump
Idea That Makes No Sense In Some Contexts And Lots Of Sense In Others


Leonard Zwelling

         Of course the idea of some sort of profiled clearance of
Muslims to allow their entry into the United States is ridiculous. I am assuming
that the US government clears everyone similarly for entry across a border and
that makes sense. That there should be some special clearance of people from
certain parts of the world might even be logical if those immigrants are from areas
that are war zones or harbor members of ISIS or other terrorist groups or are
rife with Ebola.

believe Mr. Trump has a different idea. He wants detailed investigations into
every single person who would like to come to the US from certain areas of the
world or who are Muslim regardless of point of origin. That’s a bit extreme to
say the least, besides, who’s going to pay for it. Oh I know, the Mexican
government with the money left over after it pays for the Wall.

         On the other hand, “extreme vetting” might be a good idea
when seeking people for critical jobs, like for example, president of a cancer
center. Don’t you think?

         I have been impressed that the half-life of academic deans
approaches under 5 years and presidents of universities come and go for all kinds
of reasons. It seems, however, that in academic medicine you can retain
position after position no matter how badly you fared at your last one and,
then, keep the new job no matter how badly you perform. No matter who you
annoy, how much you spend, how badly you behave, or how extensive the lying,
leaders of academic institutions, especially in large Texas cities, seem able
to retain their positions with no attachment to how they perform. Of course,
this may well have to do with the lack of scrutiny they received when they were

         Several of those leaving positions have engendered great
parties at the sites of their past jobs once they announced their departure.
Hmmm…that’s a bad sign. Some carry on with the oversized egos and dreadful
comportment that characterized previous stops on rungs of the academic ladder.
Most unfortunate.

         So here are some ideas that might prevent this in the

1. Ask the rank-and-file faculty at the incumbent’s
current place of employment how they would feel if the person being vetted for
a new job left. If you find glee, run the other way.

2. Ask the incumbent if he or she would divest in all
conflicted holdings in the pharmaceutical or other industries related to health

3. Ask the incumbent if he or she will refrain from
discussing his or her private holdings on national television.

4. Be sure the spouse of the incumbent does not have a
role in the administration of the newly hired beyond cookies and parties.

5. Subject the incumbent to a detailed psychological exam
by an independently contracted psychologist or psychiatrist to make sure his or
her ego is under control and narcissism is kept to a minimum. Better yet, a
panel of analysts should be used.

6. Pay the new person reasonably but surely no more than
20 times the salary of most of his or her employees.

        These are
just some ideas. I am sure you have others that you can add to the extreme
vetting list. This may be the one idea Mr. Trump has had that may be useful to
borrow in academic medicine.

        Don’t you
think that the president of a cancer center deserves at least as much vetting
as your next used car? There ought to be an app for that.

Leonard Zwelling