A Huge Victory For the Faculty, The Faculty Senate and Justice

A Huge Victory For the
Faculty, The Faculty Senate and Justice


Leonard Zwelling

         It took a Navy SEAL to topple King George’s modern day
academic medicine descendant, but it appears to have finally happened. After I saw Hamilton this week, the
declaration from the President of MD Anderson seemed like new version of the
Declaration of Independence, but remember that Declaration did not end the
Revolution. It was only the start and this one was coming from a prime offender of
justice, so much vigilance is in order.

         Without access to all of the email documents I cannot
comment beyond what I read in The Cancer
, but it appears as though the dynastic reign of King Ron may be
coming to an end after only 4 years.

         The heavy-handed Executive Committee of 5 white men running
MD Anderson will officially be disbanded on September 1. A new governing
committee will be constituted, supplanting the previous one. It will include critical
members of the faculty and Faculty Senate. Full credit for this turn of events
has to go to the Faculty Senate and its leadership. They have been banging on
the door located in the upper reaches of Pickens for several years trying to loosen the
chokehold President DePinho and the FORDs had on the institution. With the help
of many, the AAUP, the Chancellor, The
Cancer Letter
and perhaps a bit of this blog, but mostly the hard work of
many, many faculty members as well as four overwhelming votes of no-confidence
in the form of dreadful morale survey results, the new Chancellor was given the
green light to tell the President to mend his ways and to tell him how.

         Personally, if I were an executive and had my boss undo my
organizational chart, I would quit, but there is little chance that MD Anderson
will be free of the yoke of DePinho tyranny any time soon. But, then again, it
depends on your definition of soon.

         Unless Dr. DePinho has the worst case of mural dyslexia since
King Belshazzar in Daniel (the
inability to read the handwriting on the wall), he should have his resume
placed with several search firms by noon on Monday.

         This is truly a cause for great celebration among the
faculty. However, the Senate must remember that the trouble starts when you get
what you want. The faculty members of the new Executive Committee must be hawk
like in their oversight of the current executive members and make sure there
are no “meetings after the meeting” in the President’s office as the Chancellor
seems to have preserved the President’s unlimited final decision authority, at
least for now.

         In Washington, the worst thing that can happen to you is to
have your boss back you 100%. It usually means you are soon to be toast. Let’s
hope what happens in DC doesn’t stay in DC and that this is but the first step
in sending the Massachusetts Kid back to whence he came and he can take his
little dogs with him.


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