Dr. Ignacio Chapela
Professor Takes UC to Court, Citing Discrimination
Chapela Says His Origin, Criticism of UC Sparked Retaliation
PREETI PIPLANI / Daily Cal 19apr2005
[More on Dr. Ignacio Chapela]
Mindfully.org note: Most likely Dr. Chapela would have avoided this problem by just minding his own business and not speaking out about something that he saw as a major problem for academia and far beyond. If only he had been swayed by peer pressure just like the other politically correct professors at UC Berkeley.
UC Berkeley associate professor Ignacio Chapela took his ongoing battle for tenure to court yesterday, claiming his national origin and criticism of a UC research contract drove UC to deny him tenure. Chapela, an associate professor of microbial biology, was denied tenure twice in 2003, after receiving nearly unanimous support from the first two tenure committees. He lost his bid for tenure when it was rejected by the third and final committee.
He has since gained immense support from his followers, who claim his rejection was a response to his opposition to UC research contracts and other controversial articles he published.
“It was time to open my case up to the purview of the state of California, the nation and the world,” Chapela said in a press conference Monday. “It is with happiness that I come to the court to do what the university has not been able to do.”
In January, Chapela and the university reached a mutual agreement to conduct a new tenure review process, said George Strait, assistant vice chancellor of public affairs. The final review committee is set to make its revised recommendation in two weeks, but Chapela went forward with the suit because he faced an April 21 deadline for filing a discrimination lawsuit.
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau has ultimate authority on granting tenure.
Because the committee will make its recommendation after this week’s filing deadline, the future of the lawsuit depends on the chancellor’s decision, said Chapela’s attorney, Daniel Siegel.
In the lawsuit, Chapela argues that his criticism of genetically modified organisms in a 2001 Nature magazine article made him a victim of retaliation by the university. The magazine later rescinded its support of the article, saying that “the evidence available is not sufficient to justify the original paper.” He has maintained that the magazine’s action was because of corporate pressures on the publication.
Chapela, originally from Mexico, also claims to be a victim of racial discrimination during the tenure process.
Finally, he claims that the university committed fraud by not disclosing significant information about the criteria required for obtaining tenure.
UC Berkeley officials could not comment on the specifics of Chapela’s case, but Strait said the tenure process has multiple steps so no one individual has influence over the process.
“(UC Berkeley’s) review process is designed among the most rigorous processes in the entire United States, and it has to be because we have the best faculty,” he said.
In 1998, Chapela’s outspoken criticism of the university’s $25 million research agreement with a Swiss biotechnology corporation, Novartis, drew national attention. At the time, Chapela said any such agreement with a private interest like Novartis would prevent the university’s research mission of serving the public good.
Siegel said UC Berkeley claims tenure is determined on the basis of teaching, research and commitment to the university through service, but it fails to mention another factor.
“The other requirement (for tenure) is a requirement of political correctness—it is one that doesn’t speak out against private funding,” Siegel said.
He added that Chapela’s outspoken criticism of Novartis “derailed a tenure case that is as close to a sure thing on this campus.”
source: http://www.dailycal.org/article.php?id=18390 19apr2005