Probably not the way to get a good reputation among scientists

July 19, 2009

Tensions between science and religion, and science and business, continue to drag down Texas’s hopes to be known as a major research location.

A hard look shows it’s not just the Deliverance-style local politics at the State Board of Education on science standards.  Texas has trouble in a lot of areas.

For example, imagine a hurricane wiped out the town where one of the state’s major medical schools resides, and in the aftermath, rather than working to preserve the jobs of professors who agree to come back to the damaged buildings and storm-wracked town, the university uses the troubles as an excuse to get rid of faculty — not bad faculty, necessarily, just faculty the administration doesn’t like, or doesn’t know, or just for the heck of it.

This ain’t no way to run a medical school.

The rolling disaster that hit the Universityof Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, starting with Hurricane Ike, continued through unexpected layoffs of faculty on top of the 3,000 people laid off due to storm damage.  The layoffs were unjustified, too, many thought, and so they appealed.  The appeals process seems to have offered only a semblance of justice, to many of those involved, according to an article in The Scientist (free subscription required).

The story hasn’t got much traction in Texas media.

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