Departures at Stanford and Northwestern Put Student Journalists in Spotlight

Two prominent figures who left top universities this month have one thing in common: curious student journalists.

Stanford University president Mark Tessier-Lavigne resigned Wednesday after a report in the Stanford Daily, a campus newspaper, prompted an independent review of his scientific work, citing a 30-year-old research paper. announced it would withdraw.

Northwestern University fired head football coach Pat Fitzgerald last week after the student newspaper, the Daily Northwestern, reported that players were performing a hazing ritual.

A flurry of revelations underscores the important role university newspapers play in holding accountable to the powerful institutions that house universities.

“I think it’s clear that without our reporting, this report wouldn’t have happened,” said Theo Baker, research editor at the Stanford Daily.

The 18-year-old Baker reiterated in a Nov. 29 article in The Stanford Daily that the images had been altered in neuroscience research papers that listed Tessier Lavigne as lead author or co-author. levitated. This claim has been repeated over the years on PubPeer, a website where scientists can discuss their research.

The next day, Stanford University launched an investigation into Dr. Tessier Lavigne by a panel of outside scientists. Their report, released Wednesday, found Dr. Tessier Lavigne “hasn’t been personally involved in research misconduct” in 12 papers reviewed by the panel, but some papers showed manipulated research data by members and researchers in his lab. Dr. Tessier Lavigne did not take sufficient steps to correct his records.

However, their reporting pushed back the Stanford Daily’s claims. in february A 2009 Alzheimer’s research paper written by Dr. Tessier Lavigne when she was an executive at the biotech company Genentech was the subject of an internal investigation that revealed falsified data, which Dr. Tessier Lavigne covered up. Dr. Tessier Lavigne denied those claims.

The commission’s report noted “multiple problems” with the 2009 study, but said, “The claims appear to be false, as Genentech puts it.”

Kaushiki Nayudu, editor-in-chief and president of the Stanford Daily, said in a statement Wednesday that the paper stands by the report.

“The Daily never reported that Mark Tessier-Lavigne was personally involved in research manipulation,” she said. “We had access to different information and sources than the Commission, which acknowledged that it did not allow the anonymity of the sources. Based on these differences in process, we may reach different conclusions. “

Baker declined to comment on criticism of the report. but, article In a report released Wednesday after the peer-review announcement, Baker said some witnesses refused to speak to the Stanford University committee because their anonymity was not guaranteed, and the committee included them in the final report. It reported that it was not aware of the additional allegations.

Baker is the son of New York Times Chief White House Correspondent Peter Baker and New Yorker Reporter Susan B. Glasser. In February, he became the youngest recipient of the Polk Award for research by Dr. Tessier-Lavigne.

“For me, more than anything else, this should spark a debate about the value of student journalism,” Baker said. “If you love the place and I really love Stanford, you want the place to be more transparent,” he added.

At Northwestern University, student reports have uncovered a vague scandal in a football program.Ann articleThe paper, written July 8 by Nicole Marcus, Alice Brown, Cole Reynolds, and Divya Bhardwaj, explores issues such as forced nudity and forced sexual intercourse among college football players. It reported a vague degree of suspicion and showed how the university had mishandled its investigation into the matter. Consciousness was faint, and coach Fitzgerald was suspended for two weeks.

Two days later, reporters followed up: article On the culture of racism in football programming. Mr Fitzgerald, dismissed That day. (Fitzgerald said in a statement to ESPN at the time that he was “surprised” and that his representative and attorney “will take the necessary steps to protect my rights in accordance with the law.”)

Inspired by student research, lawsuit The lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Northwestern and Mr Fitzgerald by a former Northwestern football player who claims he was subjected to hazing, physical abuse and racial discrimination.

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