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Fragile P Syndrome

Many university medical school positions come with words like “voluntary” and “courtesy” attached; unlike tenured medical faculty, clinical faculty enjoy little more than the professional use of titles like “professor,” and, if you’re Bandy Lee, affiliations like “Yale.”

Untenured, and needing to be renewed every few years, associated medical faculty positions are fragile. As Lee – famous for having led the “Trump is dangerously insane” charge – has just discovered. Yale has fired her – chosen not to renew her, if you like – because in diagnosing a public figure without ever having met him, let alone analyzed him in a professional setting, she broke the Goldwater Rule. What really tipped Yale over, though, was a letter of complaint it received from rich, well-connected, and incredibly litigious Alan Dershowitz, also branded psychotic by Lee, and not happy about it. Lee is suing Yale.

First, a quick, surgical contrast between tenured and untenured at Yale medical school. Michael Simons, a powerful, tenured presence there, was found guilty of sexual harassment way back in 2013. And then – wow.

Details from Simons’ case date back to 2010, when he sent a romantic letter to a female junior colleague, who subsequently told him that she did not reciprocate his feelings. According to Simons’ complaint, the letter was “a declaration of love and romantic interest of the sort men have sent to women from time immemorial.”

She started up a relationship with another doctor who subsequently faced professional difficulties, which the two alleged was due to Simons’ interference.

In 2013, the junior colleague filed a sexual harassment complaint with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct. Former Connecticut Superior Court Judge Beverly Hodgson investigated the claim and found Simons guilty of sexual harassment, and the UWC recommended he be suspended as chief of cardiology for five years. Simons appealed and the suspension was ultimately reduced to 18 months.

But details of the proceedings surfaced in a subsequent New York Times investigation. Later in 2013, Simons resigned as chief of cardiology, and his complaint alleges the University forced his resignation due to the public outcry.

Simons continued to hold the position of the Robert W. Berliner chair of cardiology until Nancy Berliner ’75 MED ’79, the daughter of Robert Berliner and a former professor at the School of Medicine, objected to Simons’ professorship. In July of 2018, the University transferred Simons to the Von Zedtwitz Chair.

The action prompted public backlash, including an open letter from medical school students, alumni and faculty that amassed more than 1,000 signatures. The University then removed Simons from the position.

In October 2019, Simons filed a complaint against the University.

Hey, why not find a third chair! If not the Berliner, then the Von Zedtwitz, and if not the Von Zedtwitz the … something from the middle of the alphabet… Berliner comes early, Von Zedtwitz at the end… maybe Mr Simons would care to see something in a Smith?

And yes, you read that right – it’s been twenty years since Simons purportedly harassed, and he remains in excellent, though non-chaired, status at Yale. He also remains an infuriated, vengeful troublemaker, a scalpel in the side of the school, which first dealt with him by conferring multiple chairs upon him, and now spends its time simultaneously boasting he’s on the faculty and angrily batting down his latest litigation.

Yale’s folie à deux with the hugely compensated, hugely pissed Simons will play on till the cows come home cuz that’s how tenure rolls.

And now back to Bandy Lee. Her fragile condition means that punishment for something maybe a bit less egregious than fucking with the junior staff is rapid dismissal.

UD blows somewhat hot and cold on Lee and her fellow invoke the 25th amendment Trump-diagnosers. No one who watched Trump in his notorious debate with Biden could fail to be grateful to Lee and Co for having, years before, laid out the framework for understanding the obscenity playing out in front of us. In short, they weren’t far off in their clinical appraisal of Trump.

OTOH: It really is a crude, easily corruptible, and unethical sort of thing, using your position as a professional analyst to lend special credibility to a judgment as extreme as mentally unfit for office. UD‘s extended remarks on the matter are here.

Margaret Soltan, March 23, 2021 7:20AM
Posted in: Genius of the Carpathians

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