Two professors in the Penn Psychiatry department — Dwight Evans and Laszlo Gyulai — have recently been accused of using a ghostwriter. For Evans, this is his second time being accused of doing so.
We do not condone ghostwriting — and neither does the University, which considers the practice to be plagiarism and explicitly forbids it among faculty in the School of Medicine.
Because of the allegations, the Project on Government Oversight is asking that President Barack Obama remove Penn President Amy Gutmann as chairwoman of his Commission on Bioethics until a full investigation on Evans and Gyulai has been completed. It claims that Gutmann ignored allegations against Evans.
We don’t believe there is a convincing reason for Gutmann to be removed from her post. There is no evidence that the University, which issued a statement in December that the first accusation was “unfounded,” did not have its own internal investigation, as POGO disputes.
It is important for Gutmann to treat these recent allegations as such — allegations, not provable fact that such misconduct was committed by University faculty.
Of course, if the allegations are indeed proven to be true, we hope that Gutmann and the University take appropriate actions to deal with those involved.
But the bigger issue of ghostwriting is not one that any single investigation can solve alone. In the future, perhaps Gutmann can lead the Commission itself to examine the practice in academia and come up with a solution to the problem.
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