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Science magazine features article on fired UA prof

By Erin Mahoney
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 10, 1999
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A University of Arizona controversy surrounding fired researcher Marguerite Kay has drawn national attention in the scientific community.

Science magazine, the publication of the American Association for Advancement of Science, featured a three-page article on Kay's case in last week's issue, entitled "The Misconduct Case That Won't Go Away."

"It (Kay's case) has been used as the epitome of things that go wrong," said Carol Bernstein, president of the American Association of University Professors. "It's going to stay in the national spotlight."

According to AAAS, Science is distributed to its entire membership: 143,000 scientists, engineers, science educators and policymakers around the country.

Kay, a former microbiology and immunology professor, was dismissed in July 1998 after allegations that she falsified her research on Alzheimer's disease.

Kay and her attorney, Don Awerkamp, are awaiting a decision from a Pima County Superior Court judge on whether she was wrongfully terminated from her position.

Awerkamp said yesterday that he had no opinion on the case, and Kay could not be reached for comment after repeated attempts.

Although UA President Peter Likins and Jane Eikelberry - the attorney representing the university - would not comment, the article insinuates that Kay's case is frustrating to UA officials.

"It is unclear whether any of these protests - or the state's court decisions - will cause the university to ease its punishment of one of its most distinguished biomedical researchers," the article stated. "But one thing is certain: Likins is discovering - as others have before - that disputes over scientific conduct rarely die. They just get more expensive."

Bernstein said she expects members of AAAS to show their support by writing letters to Science's editors.

"There's going to be a considerable response," she said. "The scientific community will become more vocal in a national forum."

But Awerkamp said he isn't anticipating any additional support.

"I have no idea what implication this will have on scientists," he said.

Bernstein said Kay isn't basking in the national limelight.

"Marguerite Kay herself isn't seeking attention," she said. "She hasn't tried to sell her case to the national media."

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