If you still haven’t made your donation to the Victor Dzau Bonus Fund…

these two YouTubes from Duke should help motivate you to dig into your pockets.

Please see this post for background. And remember: Nothing you can give could ever be enough; but whatever you can give will help.

“Victor Dzau, chancellor of the Duke health system, got a $983,654 bonus, bringing his total compensation to more than $2.2 million.”

Not only that, but Dzau sits on a shitload of corporate boards, which pay him hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. The dude is raking it in.

Which bothers a few divinity school types at Duke, who note that

the university paid the bonuses even as it was cutting jobs and eliminating raises for most other workers.

… In recent years, Duke has frozen pay and eliminated jobs in an attempt to pare its annual operating budget by $100 million.

Nearly 400 workers have accepted buyout offers since early 2009. Their jobs were then eliminated.

“During a time when the administration is saying we all needed to tighten our belts and make sacrifices…as it turns out, some of the folks who lost money for Duke [she’s talking about investment managers, who also got bonuses] were giving themselves bonuses,” said Amy Laura Hall, a tenured professor of Christian ethics. “I think that’s obscene.” …

Some of Hall’s students have taken to the quads dressed in Depression era gear and selling apples: “With all the cuts we have around here and all the bonuses we have to give to the big guys, we need to raise all the money we can.”

UD will be sending an executive bonus donation to Duke this evening, and she encourages you to do the same. At a time of real fiscal distress, Duke remains foursquare in its defense of its executive reward system. Its executives themselves are equally remarkable for their fidelity, through thick and thin, to the principle of unlimited personal enrichment.

“Potti’s mentor, cancer geneticist Joseph Nevins, pleaded with Perez not to send a letter about his concerns to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which was supporting him, because it would trigger an investigation at Duke, according to a deposition cited in court documents.”

It’s often only years later, when the lawsuits start teasing out emails, that you understand how certain harrowing instances of university research misconduct get to the point where, as at Duke University, “the methods used by [a] research group [weren’t] validated — and yet they [were] being used to assign patients to clinical trials.”

And just as in the University North Carolina Chapel Hill academic fraud case the (ignored, defamed) whistle blower was a person who ranked low in the local hierarchy, so in the Duke case, Bradley Perez was just a medical student, and when he complained to the now-notorious Anil Potti about the bogus research Potti was involving Perez in, the faker drew himself up to his full measure of fakery and told Perez “he takes it as a personal insult if people don’t believe in what he is doing.”

Perez persisted, casting about for other administrators who could help him put an end to Potti’s fraud. They weren’t helpful. They still aren’t. Two of Duke’s highest level administrators – Sally Kornbluth and Victor Dzau (famous Victor Dzau!) continue to insist they knew nothing about Perez’s early and frequent warnings.

Did Kornbluth know about the Perez case? Did Victor Dzau, who was then Duke Chancellor?

The answers are yes and yes.


One scientific observer, considering this case as it has now revealed itself, comments:

“There is more to this story than the heroic and principled actions of an erudite young man and the shame that has befallen a great university in blindly and selfishly defending its own. It is indicative of a lack of understanding of the scientific method among many scientists… The Duke scandal is extreme, to be sure. But irreproducibility in academic research is common. And the reward structure and complacency of universities is to blame.”

There’s money on the table, in other words, so let’s not fuck it up.


These soon-to-be pensioners at the University of California have given selflessly to the institution for decades, earning only $400,000 a year or so. As if that pay weren’t insulting enough, the system might not lift the cap on their retirement benefits.

They want UC to calculate retirement benefits as a percentage of their entire salaries, instead of the federally instituted limit of $245,000. The difference would be significant for the more than 200 UC employees who currently earn more than $245,000.

Under UC’s formula, which calculates retirement benefits on only the first $245,000 of pay, an employee earning $400,000 a year who retires after 30 years would get a $183,750 annual pension.

Lift the cap, and the pension rises to $300,000.

Can you imagine retiring on anything under two hundred thousand dollars a year? The mind boggles.

First they came for Todd Henderson; then they came for Victor Dzau; and now damned if they’re not going after the public sector.

More on Duke University’s …

… very expensive, very board-motivated, Victor Dzau, from Cardiobrief.

Cardiobrief notes that Dzau is shy about his board membership at PepsiCo, which he doesn’t list on his faculty bio page (he lists his Genzyme board membership only).

Dzau’s involvement with PepsiCo …strikes me as the most troubling of all [of his four corporate board memberships]. As a prominent and influential health care leader, how could Dzau treat a tax on soda, or a ban on vending machines in schools, or any of a multitude of other health policy issues relating to the obesity and diabetes epidemic? In addition, might Dzau’s involvement with PepsiCo (and the other companies) produce a chilling effect on the free speech and activities of Duke faculty and affiliated doctors?

Raking it in at Duke Health

Roy Poses, at Health Care Renewal, looks more deeply at the





(one very for each of his four corporate boards) busy, very overcompensated, chancellor of the Duke University Health System.

Victor Dzau’s take-home pay has inspired a Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke to stage campus protests against his latest bonuses.


Duke’s misstep in this matter is clear.  It hired a Professor of Christian Ethics who actually believes that stuff.

More on the Duke Bonuses

University Diaries has been covering executive bonuses at Duke University. Earlier posts are here, here, and here.

From a comment thread about the Duke bonuses in the Duke newspaper:

Dr [Victor] Dzau is a director of four major corporations (sample Pepsi) earning more than $1 million in fees each year in addition to his Duke salary and his bonus. When you consider the boards meet regularly (usually 10 or 12 times a year) in distant cities, … this [is] an undue diversion of his attention.

The experts agree. From a recent New York Times article about university presidents and chancellors sitting on corporate boards:

Nell Minow, editor of the Corporate Library, an independent research firm focusing on corporate governance, [says], “it is just physically impossible to do the work necessary to be a good director” [when you sit on many boards]. The Corporate Library estimates that board members must invest 240 hours a year, including meetings and preparation, to do the work properly. But it can become a full-time job if the company runs into trouble.

Charles M. Elson, a corporate governance specialist at the University of Delaware, is highly critical of university presidents who serve on several boards… “If you see a university president on multiple boards, that’s a problem,” he says. “There is no way you can do the job. Someone has got short shrift.”

… [There is now] a movement to limit the number of boards each president serves. In the University of California system, for example, the Board of Regents voted in January to restrict board membership for its chancellors to three.

Raymond D. Cotton, a partner at the Washington law firm Mintz Levin who specializes in presidential contracts and has represented about 250 institutions, says he recommends to universities that they write into contracts that the president can serve on a maximum of two boards.

Duke is rewarding Dzau for not being on campus.

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