This blog faithfully covers the tendency of universities who hire and retain people who turn out to be big-time crooks to deny, deny, deny.

Most of these stories are about doctors who go to jail for running pill mills or ripping off Medicare.

Jose Katz spent two decades as a respected Columbia University faculty member; his name appears on dozens of scientific papers coming out of Columbia labs. After he retired (probably before too, but who’s counting), Katz set about telling everyone who came to his office that they had angina and needed expensive invasive things done to them. In this way, he accumulated tens of millions of dollars, and now he’s going to jail.

Note that in this report a Columbia spokesperson insists says they haven’t seen Jose around campus for ten years; note too that his lawyer repeatedly calls Katz a professor. He’s a professor … he’s a professor…

UD isn’t, of course, saying that Columbia should somehow have sensed it had a crook in its midst. She is saying that having happily affiliated for years with a convict currently plastering his faculty status all over town, Columbia can do better than issue a flat denial of any connection. Something like this would be good:

Columbia University is dismayed that a person once in good standing on its faculty has been convicted of serious fraud. The university has strict employee vetting procedures in place, and as far as we know Dr. Katz broke no laws while at Columbia. But this case is a reminder that all schools need to remain vigilant.

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