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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  April 2004

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE April 2004

Subject:

FW: Prof. Chapela tenure case

From:

Martha Herbert <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Apr 2004 08:54:45 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (325 lines)

Subject: Prof. Chapela tenure case


Dear Friends,

The sign-on letter regarding the tenure case of Prof. Ignacio Chapela is now
online at http://www.chapelatenure.org . The website is able to accept
endorsements. So please forward the email below to your colleagues. We'll
gather
signatures, and present the letter and endorsements to the recipients about
a
week into May.

Thank you for your support!

Jesse Reynolds

*********************

Dear Colleague,

Prof. Ignacio Chapela of the University of California, Berkeley has been
denied
tenure by Chancellor Robert Berdahl after a protracted and irregular
three-year
process, despite the near-unanimous recommendations from experts within
Berkeley
and around the world in favor of tenure. He previously had the bravery to
speak
out against a $25 million research agreement with the biotechnology giant
Novartis. After publishing research showing that transgenic DNA has
contaminated
native corn in Mexico, he withstood an industry-coordinated smear campaign.

A public letter - which calls for an independent investigation, a
continuation
of Prof. Chapela's term in the meantime, and a public question-and-answer
session with Chancellor Berdahl - is circulating and collecting
endorsements.

Prof. Chapela's position with UC Berkeley is currently scheduled to end on
June
30. The letter will be delivered to Chancellor Berdahl and the other
recipients
in early May.

Please join the other endorsers, and add your name to the letter. We must
act
promptly.

You can endorse the letter at http://www.chapelatenure.org , or by sending
an
email with your name, title & affiliation, and whether it is an
organizational
endorsement, to [log in to unmask] .

Thank you for your support.

*********************

To:

- Robert Berdahl, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley

- Ronald Gronsky, Chair, Academic Senate, Berkeley Division

CC:

- Members of the Board of Regents, University of California

- Jan de Vries, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Faculty Welfare,
University of California, Berkeley

- Robert Knapp, Vice Chair, Academic Senate, Berkeley Division

- Jeffrey Knapp, Chair, Privilege and Tenure Committee, Academic Senate,
Berkeley Division

- Jessica Quindel, President, Graduate Assembly, University of California,
Berkeley

- Temina Madon, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Graduate Assembly,
University of California, Berkeley

- Kris Cuaresma-Primm, President, Associated Students of the University of
California, Berkeley

- Gustavo Mata, Academic Affairs Vice President, Associated Students of the
University of California, Berkeley

- Members of the President's Advisory Committee to Search for a New
Chancellor


Dear Chancellor Berdahl and Prof. Gronsky,

The tenure process for Prof. Ignacio Chapela of the Department of
Environmental
Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM) has been extraordinary. After three
years
and much international attention, Chancellor Berdahl denied tenure despite
the
near-unanimous support from the reviewers from within and beyond ESPM. We
are
concerned that this appears to be not only a failure of the tenure system,
but
also that it may represent the stifling of academic freedom and an assault
on
the credibility of the University of California.

Prof. Chapela is no stranger to such international attention. He was one of
the
few faculty members in the College of Natural Resources to publicly
criticize
the unprecedented $25 million research agreement between the College and the
biotechnology giant Novartis (now Syngenta). This was despite the fact that,
as
an untenured professor, he risked the retribution of the dean of the
College,
who was a primary proponent of the agreement.

In 2001, Prof. Chapela and David Quist published research indicating that
genetically modified DNA had contaminated the indigenous strains of corn in
its
native region of southern Mexico, despite a multi-year ban on the
cultivation of
GM corn there. The biotechnology industry subsequently coordinated a smear
campaign against Prof. Chapela and the research. Although these findings
were
later verified, the journal Nature partially withdrew its support for the
article. The result was an unprecedented politicization of the peer review
process.

During the last three years, Prof. Chapela has undergone an arduous tenure
review process. Despite the overwhelming recommendations for tenure from an
ad
hoc departmental committee, the entire ESPM faculty, the chair of the
department, the dean of the College, external letters, and an ad hoc expert
committee appointed by the Budget & Interdepartmental Relations Committee of
the
Academic Senate ("the budget committee"), this budget committee recommended
against tenure. Members of this committee have professional and personal
connections to the biotechnology industry, and have criticized Prof. Chapela
publicly in the past. Nevertheless, Chancellor Berdahl concurred with the
budget
committee and denied tenure - despite the fact that fifty-nine individuals
in
the tenure review process supported tenure, compared to two who opposed.

A member of the ad hoc committee of the budget committee, Prof. Wayne Getz,
has
gone public with his concerns, asserting that the process has "gone awry":
"I've
been a member of the faculty for 25 years, and have served on these [ad hoc
tenure-review] committees half a dozen to a dozen times. I broke rank
because I
was shocked that our recommendation was overturned.... It's almost like the
budget committee, instead of representing the faculty in the tenure process,
is
saying: 'The faculty wasn't smart enough to give the right answer, so we're
going to change it.' "

Like Prof. Getz, we are concerned that Prof. Chapela may have been unjustly
denied tenure. We are concerned that, like the response to the Nature
article,
an unjust denial would stifle and politicize academic freedom. We are
concerned
that, like the Novartis contract, this is indicative of the University
fostering
a climate conducive towards the biotechnology industry, often at the expense
of
the public interest. We are concerned that such actions will tarnish the
reputation of the University of California as an unparalleled institution of
research and education.

It is not too late to restore the honor of the University and give Prof.
Chapela
the proper review he deserves. We request that the Academic Senate
investigate
the tenure process of Prof. Chapela, to examine the reasons the budget
committee
contradicted its own ad hoc committee of experts, any documented and
undocumented influences (including any personal conflicts of interest that
may
have existed), and the historical normalcy of both recommendations of the
budget
committee and the length of the tenure review process.

We request that Prof. Chapela's appointment is maintained while any
investigation or review is underway. He should not lose his tenure track
position during this time.

Finally, Chancellor Berdahl, we request that you participate in a public
forum
where you can answer questions regarding your decision to deny tenure to
Prof.
Chapela. The University community deserves to know why you went against the
recommendations of nearly sixty people involved in the tenure process.

Sincerely,

David Andow - Professor of Entomology, University of Minnesota

Jon Beckwith - American Cancer Society Research Professor of Microbiology
and
Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Gerald D. Berreman - Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of
California, Berkeley

Paul Billings - Visiting Professor of Anthropology, University of
California,
Berkeley; Chair, Council for Responsible Genetics

Paul Connett - Professor of Chemistry, St. Lawrence University

Cliff DuRand - Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Morgan State University

Troy Duster - Professor of Sociology, New York University; Chancellor's
Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

Barbara Epstein - Professor of History of Consciousness, University of
California, Santa Cruz

Michael M.J. Fischer - Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology
Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Eva Harris - Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, School of Public
Health, University of California, Berkeley

John Harte - Professor of Energy and Resources and of Ecosystem Sciences,
University of California, Berkeley

Martha Herbert - Clinical Faculty, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical
School; Pediatric Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Arlie Hochschild - Professor of Sociology, University of California,
Berkeley

Christina Hohmann - Associate Professor of Biology, Morgan State University

Daniel Janzen - Professor of Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Martin Kenney - Professor of Human and Community Development, University of
California, Davis; Senior Project Director, Berkeley Roundtable on the
International Economy, University of California, Berkeley

Daniel Kleinman - Associate Professor, Department of Rural Sociology,
University
of Wisconsin, Madison

Jack Kloppenburg - Associate Professor of Rural Sociology, University of
Wisconsin

Sheldon Krimsky - Professor of Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning, and
Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, Tufts University

Richard Levins - John Rock Professor of Population Sciences, Department of
Population and International Health, School of Public Health, Harvard
University

Mary Susan Lindee - Professor of History and Sociology of Science,
University of
Pennsylvania

Martha Livingston - Associate Professor of Health and Society, SUNY College
at
Old Westbury

J. B. Neilands - Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology,
University of
California, Berkeley

Stuart Newman - Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy, New York Medical
College

Richard Norgaard - Professor of Energy and Resources and of Agricultural and
Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley

David Ozonoff - Professor of Environmental Health, School of Public Health,
Boston University

Michael Pollan - Knight Professor of Journalism, Graduate School of
Journalism
and Director, Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism,
University
of California, Berkeley

Paul Rabinow - Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

Philip Regal - Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, College of
Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota

Stanley Salthe - Professor Emeritus of Biology, City University of New York

Charles Schwartz - Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of California,
Berkeley

Richard Strohman - Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology,
University
of California, Berkeley

Charles Weiner - Visiting Professor of Environmental, Science, Policy, and
Management, 2001 & Regents Lecturer, 2003, University of California,
Berkeley;
Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts
Institute
of Technology

Roberta White - Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Health,
School
of Public Health, Boston University

Leon Wofsy - Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of
California, Berkeley

Jesse Reynolds - Alumnus, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and
Management, University of California, Berkeley

Ted Schettler - Boston Medical Center; Science and Environmental Health
Network

Chloe Silverman - Doctoral Candidate, Department of History and Sociology of
Science, University of Pennsylvania

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