See Something? Say Something? Do Something?: A Warning

See Something? Say Something? Do Something?: A Warning


Leonard Zwelling

It’s a chilling article that has gotten extensive press coverage today, Friday, June 23.

This is worth reading but let me sum it up.

The Obama White House knew of the huge degree of invasive mischief that the Russians used against our election system. These so-called “active measures” included fake news, leaks of putatively secure documents, and actual attempts to meddle with the voting apparatus. This was all being done to harm Hillary Clinton and possibly even cause Donald Trump to win. Whether the Russian actions were the cause of the Trump victory remains to be proven, but if sowing chaos was Putin’s goal, and make no mistake, this came from the top, he was successful.

The story outlined in the link above is how an overly cautious and over confident White House, assured of the Clinton victory, sat on its hands and allowed the Russians to have their way with the American intelligence system despite knowing full well what was going on. Why? It appears that Mr. Obama did not want to give credence to Mr. Trump’s claims that the election was “rigged” (he was right all along, but in his favor) and Mr. Obama did not want to politicize his response to the Russian interference. Big mistake.

The former president looks positively inept in this article and the infrastructure around him simply could not get the principal movers to react reasonably to the cyber threat posed by the Russians. Many good people saw this. Many good people said something. Many on the top of the heap did nothing.

I bring this up because I think the same thing happened at MD Anderson in 2011.

Many, including me, saw the appointment of Ron DePinho as hopelessly flawed and also saw all three of the finalists named by the Regents as wanting. None were up to the job. Not then; not now should they throw their hats in the ring again.

Many of us saw this and many of us said something, but those most in position to do something, the Division Heads, the Faculty Senate and mostly the university leadership, changing though it seemed to constantly be, would do nothing. Now MD Anderson is really in a hole. It lost a ton of money after over five years being led by someone with no understanding of what a cancer center actually does nor what the clinical faculty in it are faced with on a daily basis. How could he? He wasn’t an oncologist of any kind. He’s a scientist and an academic entrepreneur. The latter is a bit of an oxymoron given that he took no risks and raked in $2 million per year no matter what his companies did on the stock market.

So once again, MD Anderson is going through the throes of another presidential search. Exactly what the Regents are looking for is unknown, but soon enough we all should get a view of who the candidates might be.

If you see one who is really qualified, please say so and delve deeply into his or her background including calls behind the scenes to the places where that person worked in the past. Had this been done in 2011, we all would have been spared a whole lot of pain.

But, more importantly, if you know damned well that one or more of the aspirants are unworthy of the job, for goodness sake make that known to your faculty leaders and senators. Only through active participation by all the faculty and staff in this process can the mistake of 2011 be avoided this time. See it; say it; do it. The faculty needs its own active measures at this critical decision point. There is no more room for error.

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