Apologies, Dr. Boyd



       In a recent blog (Why the Cancer
Letter:DePinho Flap Is Silly-June 1), I outlined why I thought the most recent
Cancer Letter and the events upon which it reported were not really very potent
arguments against the actions of Dr. DePinho to not renew the tenure of two
faculty approved unanimously for tenure by the PTC. I intimated that the President
of MD Anderson, like it or not, has the power to reverse even unanimous PTC
decisions if he feels that his call furthers the strategic goals of research
excellence and/or the proper distribution of valuable resources (space, slots
and money) toward the eradication of cancer. I objected to equating the cases
of the two faculty involved as I thought it was likely that they differed
significantly. I also thought that the objective evidence presented in this
latest flap paled along side of the CPRIT, IACS, CNBC, nepotism and furniture
Presidential decisions as support that the President did not have the best
interests of MD Anderson or its faculty in mind when making these foolish choices.

       I went on to chide the Faculty Senate in
its recruitment of the AAUP for help in this matter.

       I received several emails giving me hell
especially as it pertains to Dr. Doug Boyd who has spearheaded the work behind
this effort. My stance was particularly aggravating to some because I had so fervently advocated such “civil disobedience” and when it was finally executed I criticized someone who acted as I had urged. Fair enough!

       I just saw an email this same Dr. Boyd
sent to the entire faculty yesterday and I owe him an apology.  First, Doug is a good friend and I meant no
ill-will to him. Second, he and I consulted on this matter over a year ago when
I told him pretty much what I wrote in the blog. However, now Dr. Boyd presents
incontrovertible objective evidence that the credentials of the rejected
faculty were not really any different than the credentials of faculty whose
tenure was either awarded or renewed. This puts the whole thing in a different
light. It’s the same light (or darkness) through which Dr. DePinho has
repeatedly crawled in the other scandals that have beset his first three
years in Houston.

       Doug, I’m sorry. You were right and I was
wrong. It’s even worse than I imagined.

       This brings me to potential remedies for
this awful situation. Judging by prior emails from the administration, it seems
unlikely that these two decisions will be reconsidered by Dr. DePinho. That’s
too bad, but probably true.

       Are there remedies that we might learn about from other systems of complex governance?

       Yes, there are, and let’s view one that may
be needed very soon in the most complex of systems, the US government and in
Congress, specifically.

       As I understand the latest Obama flap
(he’s had more than DePinho, but Ron is trying to catch up. After all President
Obama has a three-year lead on President DePinho), the President traded the
freedom of a POW for 5 Taliban members incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay prison.
The argument that Obama is using is that we leave no man on the battlefield.
Fair enough. But this was rolled out by the White House with a lot of fanfare and too little due diligence. Now the decision to make the deal is being
followed by real questions about what this soldier actually did to get
captured, what communications were going on between him and his father, how many other Americans died looking for him, and whether or not Obama broke the
law by not keeping Congress in a required loop. I would like to focus on this
last point.

       When one combines the many suspensions of
provisions of the Affordable Care Act the President has uniformly ordered with his
keeping Congress in the dark over this prisoner exchange, I believe there is
sufficient reason to bring articles of impeachment forward in the House of

       In Article 2, Section 4 of the US
Constitution it states: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers
of the United States shall be removed from office on Impeachment for, and
Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Most Americans know that impeachment is akin to
indictment and is done by the House (which is in Republican hands now).
Conviction occurs by a two-thirds vote of the Senate (currently majority
Democratic, but in January, who knows?) in a trial adjudicated by the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court (Article 1, Section 3). Thus, it is safe to say
that even the President of the United States can be held accountable for his
actions and law, justice and politics may influence the outcome.

       Given that one member of the University
of Texas Board of Regents is being threatened with impeachment and as recently
as Bill Clinton US Presidents have been impeached (but none convicted although
I think Nixon would have been), perhaps this is sufficient grounds for similar
queries about Dr. DePinho’s decisions and their compliance with both law and wisdom. Unfortunately, unlike the US
Senate, there is little the Faculty Senate can do about this latest flap which,
as I have said, I misunderestimated and for this I apologize to Dr. Boyd.

       Doug, you were right. I was wrong. Not that
this is unusual at all, but I thought I would let you know.

       Keep calm, and carry on.

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