What Hurts Harvard About the Hauser Scandal Is the Coverup

For those of you who have been blissfully out of the news (not a bad thing to be doing in the summer), Harvard professor Marc Hauser has been accused of scientific fraud. It now appears that Harvard had concluded its investigation and swept the findings under the rug for months/i>:

Marc Hauser’s academic career was soaring when suddenly, three years ago, Harvard authorities raided his laboratory and confiscated computers and records.
Dr. Hauser continued to publish and lecture widely until last week, while all the time researchers at Harvard and elsewhere who knew of the raid kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
In January this year, a faculty committee at last completed its report, said to contain eight charges against Dr. Hauser. But the report was kept secret and nothing changed until this month when someone showed The Boston Globe a letter about the investigation from Dr. Hauser to his faculty colleagues.

I really don’t understand Harvard’s response–and I’m assuming here that Hauser’s in deep water (if not, then it makes sense).

Because the coverup is always as bad as the scandal, especially when you’re a third party.
Sure, admitting Hauser’s potential malfeasance would have been embarrassing, but Harvard could have talked about how their internal processes ultimately defended academic integrity, even as his colleagues in his discipline were unable to do so. It would have been a minor event, one day event (announce it on a busy Friday afternoon).
Instead, this is festering and people are paying a lot of attention to it. And forget the PR, Harvard truly could have claimed that they did the right thing, if belatedly and slowly. But now, they’re tainted with a ‘cover up.’
Smart people can be so stupid.

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5 Responses to What Hurts Harvard About the Hauser Scandal Is the Coverup

  1. Physicalist says:

    I’m assuming here that Hauser’s in deep water (if not, then it makes sense).

    Then should we take this as evidence that the water is not so deep?

  2. eNeMeE says:

    swept the findings under the rug for months/i>

    Clean up on aisle 2! Wayward italics tag on the loose!

  3. JG says:

    Hope this helps until a proper fix can be done.

  4. JG says:

    My attempted fix for the rogue itals didn’t work — sorry.

  5. Mike M. says:

    I’m guessing that the investigation also implicates other members of the Harvard establishment for either significant failure to properly monitor Hauser or malfeasance or both. In the end it is likely all about keeping the $$ coming in. That is really what Harvard and most Universities are about these days, isn’t it?

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