The following memos between various CMU administrators and participants in the Rimm "study" provide additional background on the investigation into the ethics of the study. jt --------- Carnegie Mellon Memo To: Paul Steif, Professor, Mechanical Engineering From: Jessie Ramey, Director, Undergraduate Research Initiative Date: October 18, 2020 Subject: Rimm SURG proposal cc: Ed Zuckerman, Marvin Sirbu, David Banks, Martin Rimm _____________________________________________________________________ As you requested, enclosed is a copy of Martin Rimm's second SURG proposal. Out office does not make SURG proposals public and I would appreciate it if you would limit distribution to the inquiry committee. After speaking with you yesterday I became concerned that the issue of advisor on this project may be confusing. The Undergraduate Research Initiative has always operated on a good faith system with students. Our intent is to support student research efforts and recognize faculty contributions to this process. I do not feel that the Initiative has played "fast and loose" with its programs, nor do I feel that we need to apologize, but I would like to provide some clarification on this issue. In March of 1994, Martin Rimm submitted a SURG proposal for the Summer/Fall 1994 grant period entitled, "A Survey of Interactive Technologies and their Influence on Pornography." Ed Zuckerman of Psychology was the faculty advisor. This proposal was reviewed by the selection committee and approved for the standard $500 award. At some point during the grant period Marty asked us to change the advisor listed in our database to Marvin Sirbu. There is no hard copy form for this and it was not verified with Marvin Sirbu so I have no reason to know he ever saw the proposal or knew of this change. In October of 1994, Marty submitted a second, continuing SURG proposal for the Spring '95 grant period entitled, "Marketing Pornography on the Information Superhighway." David Banks of Statistics wrote a letter of recommendation for the project but did not sign the Participation Form. This proposal was also reviewed by the selection committee and awarded a $500 grant. At a later date in the grant period, Marty again asked us to change the database to show Marvin Sirbu as his advisor. Again, there is no hard copy form for this and it was not verified with Marvin Sirbu. It is my understanding that Marty was working with a number of faculty members at a given time. In retrospect, I do not believe any one of them was fully cognizant of the whole project nor had any one person agreed to take full responsibility for advising the project. The SURG selection committees felt that there was adequate supervision to make an award, but this was a fairly unusual project self-defined by a student who sought advice from a wide range of faculty and staff. Indeed we have always encouraged students to take initiative, define their own project and seek advice from whatever sources are appropriate. If you have any questions about the Rimm proposal or the Undergraduate Research Initiative, please do not hesitate to contact me at x8-5702 or via email at jr31@andrew. ========================================== ============================================ Department of Statistics 232 Baker Hall Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890 (412) 268-2717 FAX: (412) 268-7828 David Banks (412) 268-2721 December 8, 2020 Dr. Paul Christiano Provost Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Dear Paul, I've grown steadily more unhappy with the management of the academic misconduct investigation. Two areas that cause special concern are: 1. The investigation's phases are taking _very_ much longer than the maximum times allowed in the _Faculty_Handbook_. These delays damage the investigation since witnesses may become unavailable, and since memories dim and change with time. 2. It seems that you are attempting to use the second Committee of Inquiry's findings to restrict the scope of the Committee of Investigation. My reading of the _Faculty_Handbook_ indicates that the Committee of Investigation has full power to add or dismiss charges as the evidence warrants. If this power is circumscribed, then it creates the appearance of a whitewash. If you suspect that nay of the participants is likely to break the confidentiality of the proceedings, then I think you are especially behooved to follow the letter of the law. My personal concerns are urgent. o As you know, I am not getting tenure at CMS. Thus I am necessarily applying for jobs _now_, and this unresolved misconduct charge is a serious liability; to conceal it would be a second strike against my integrity, and probably impossible given how well my involvement is known to the statistical community. Even if some department were to offer me a job, I am placed at an unconscionable disadvantage in negotiating rank and salary. The main reason I waived your offer of a second Committee of Inquiry was to ensure that the 120 day limit would expire before January, freeing me for the job search. o When PPG wanted to retain me as an expert witness in a warranty dispute, I had to advise them to look elsewhere since this pending charge offers too much ammunition to opposing lawyers. West also appears to have dropped our consulting relationship after I informed them of this matter. o The editor of the _Journal_of_Classification_ asked me in June to submit to him for publication the follow-up statistical paper I had planned: he even sent me software to do the block-cluster analysis I sketched to him. When this fell apart so spectacularly, I emailed him my regrets, and an assurance that I believed the ongoing investigation would quickly clear me of wrongdoing. At least three associate editors (Journal of the American Statistical Association, Statistical Science, and the American Statistician) are also cognizant of my connection to Rimm's study and the fact that I'm under a misconduct charge. o As a teacher, I am embarrassed that I have to keep staving off inquires from my many former students with unsubstantiated assurances that "I am not a crook." This corrodes the candour I have always sought with them. o Most importantly, this continual strain is beginning to sour my disposition and seep into my private life. These problems indicate why I feel that delays are intolerable. Additionally, to protect my reputation, I must insist that you do nothing that would present the appearance of hobbling the Committee of Investigation. I strongly believe that the evidence will show not only that I am innocent of all charges, but that I had been uniquely active and prescient in trying to forestall the kinds of misconduct in which others were engaged. And I need this public vindication, since the confidentiality requirements you imposed when inaugurating the process have prevented me from defending my reputation to my colleagues and students. I will be in Berkeley all next week. I hope you can discuss this matter with Teddy Seidenfield, and perhaps John Lehoczky, while I am gone. I would very much like to resolve these concerns when I return on Monday, December 18. Sincerely, David Banks cc: Teddy Seidenfield, John Lehoczky ===================================== ======================================= Department of Statistics 232 Baker Hall Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890 (412) 268-2717 FAX: (412) 268-7828 David Banks Associate Professor (412) 268-2721 December 19, 2020 Henry R. Piehler Chair of the Faculty Review Committee Department of Materials science and Engineering Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Dear Dr. Piehler, I am one of the respondents named in the academic misconduct investigation into the Rimm Study. Over the course of this semester, I have grown increasingly concerned as the Provost's management of this process has deviated ever more greatly from the procedures laid out in the _Faculty_Handbook_. Most recently, in the enclosed letter of Dec. 8, I outlined my concerns to the Provost, and subsequently followed this up with email asking for his response. To date, he has made no reply. Under the circumstances, I must petition the Faculty Committee to intervene. As the enclosed letter describes, the long delays and other alterations to the process place me in an untenable dilemma. I very much want the process to go forward fairly and completely, since I need the opportunity to exonerate myself of the charges that have been laid against me by parties outside the university and by my colleagues who served on the first Committee of Inquiry (and possibly also by the second Committee of Inquiry, though I've received no notification of their conclusions). On the other hand, I have pressing professional reasons to avoid undue prolongation of the process. I do not see any resolution that achieves much fairness. Perhaps the best approximation is to swiftly appoint a Committee of Investigation, and ask them to decide whether they can reach a verdict on my participation by January 31. I realize that this imposes an awful burden in the committee, but maybe that burden is an acceptable price to pay for a functional misconduct procedure. If the Committee of Investigation does not feel it can decide my case by January 31, then I suppose I must ask that the charges against me be dismissed on grounds of procedural irregularities. I don't like that solution -- it allows my reputation to have been pointlessly tainted, and creates the appearance that I'm resorting to a legal loophole. Also, it opens a door that may allow other respondents to escape, some of whom I believe to have been guilty of gross misconduct. If the second course is taken, I hope the Faculty Review Committee will specifically allow me, in the event that either : 1. some other respondent breaches the confidentiality of the process, or 2. A public allegation is made that I've been whitewashed, to defend myself by releasing my account of my involvement with the Rimm Study, together with supporting documentation. Obviously, I am not especially pleased about either of the alternative actions I'm requesting of the Faculty Review Committee, and I certainly encourage it to freely propose other solutions. I would very much appreciate it is you can give me some sense of the schedule on which your committee worked, and how quickly it will be able to begin the consideration of this petition. Sincerely, David Banks cc: Bennett T. McCallum Margaret S. Clark David H Fowler Paul J. Karol Thomas M. Kerr Joann Maier Irving Oppenheim Dana Scott Richard Young John Lehoczky Teddy Seidenfield Paul Christiano encl: letter to the Provost ======================================== ========================================= A Department of Statistics 232 Baker Hall Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890 (412) 268-2717 FAX: (412) 268-7828 David Banks Associate Professor (412) 268-2721 December 21, 2020 Dr. Paul Christiano Provost Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Dear Paul, Because the Committee of Inquiry has named me as a respondent for the Committee of Investigation, I've advised to provide a written account, together with all available documentation, of my participation in the Rimm Study. Personally, I have no objection to this document being given to whomever you wish, though other respondents may feel differently. The Committee of Investigation should certainly receive copies. Besides them, I'd like the Committee of Inquiry to get copies, since this corrects several errors in their report and I don't wish these colleagues to persist in their concern that my conduct may have been inappropriate. Sincerely, David Banks encl: eight copies ==================================================== ==================================================== [[Observation by Mike Godwin: Mon Jun 23 '97 (11:03) 5 lines Note that these letters precede the interviews that Banks participated in with the KPACK committee -- indeed, the letters seem to have triggered the interviews. ]] ==================================================== ==================================================== Department of Materials Science and Engineering Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890 (412) 268-2700 FAX: (412) 268-7828 Henry R. Piehler Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering & Public Policy, and Biomedical Engineering Phone: 412-268-2674 FAX: 412-268-1513 16 January 2020 David Banks Statistics Baker Hall Room 132D (412) 268-2721 Dear Professor Banks, In response to your letter of 19 December 2020, I have formed a subcommittee of the Faculty Review Committee to begin reviewing the procedures involved in the administration of the academic misconduct allegations involving you that have been reported by two Committees of Inquiry. I believe that ambiguities in the time table and procedures set forth in the _Faculty_Handbook_ have contributed to the delays in considering your case, including the Faculty Review Committee's initial determination as to whether or not it is appropriate for us to review your case at the present time. However, it is clear to me from the spirit of the language in the _Faculty_Handbook_ that the procedures were intended to proceed more expeditiously than they have. On this basis we are beginning to review your case immediately, even before the report of the Committee of Investigation is issued. Sincerely yours, Henry R. Piehler Professor Chairman, Faculty Review Committee xc: N. Janiczewski P. Karol B. McCallum D. Scott T. Seidenfield