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Myriad are the ways professors can trade their scholarly integrity for money.

They can agree to have seemingly unbiased articles about – I dunno – the safety of OxyContin go out under their name, even though Sackler-funded ghostwriters would have written the articles.

For doing nothing but agreeing to Purdue’s use of their name, these professors could earn (before the whole Oxy thing collapsed) tens of thousands of dollars, and thereby make their own small contribution to millions of addictions and deaths.

There are plenty of examples like this. An economist earns big bucks by letting a corporation use her name on an article touting … let’s see … the superiority of coal over other forms of energy. The safety of dangerous anti-depressants. This or that hormone.


There are other ways for professors to trade their reputations for money, and a prof at GW may have availed himself of one of these. Nothing’s been proven, but two affiliated scholars at the Program on Extremism he runs have already resigned in protest against Lorenzo Vidino having reportedly received thousands of dollars for designating certain people terrorists, or terrorist-connected. The money came from rich oil states engaged in convoluted reputational battles with other such states.

Vidino, a dual citizen of Italy and the U.S., argues that even the most moderate Islamist organizations in the West can tilt Muslims toward separatism and violence. [M]any Muslims [think] that he simply dresse[s] up bigotry in academic language. Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, which studies Islamophobia, has described Vidino as someone who “promotes conspiracy theories about the Muslim Brotherhood” and “is connected to numerous anti-Muslim think tanks.” In 2020, the Austrian Interior Ministry cited a report by Vidino as a basis for carrying out raids on dozens of citizens or organizations suspected of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood. No one targeted in the raids has been arrested, much less convicted of any wrongdoing. An Austrian appellate court ruled the raids unlawful.

UD would love to know if he’s declaring this money on his end of year GW Academic Review form.

Margaret Soltan, March 29, 2024 1:15PM
Posted in: professors

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