Letter from Robert De Rubeis, chairman of the UPENN psychology department to Francisco Gil-White


The text below is Robert DeRubeis' reply to my email of October 21, 2003, where I explained to him, and documented, that senior faculty member Paul Rozin was threatening me with the loss of my job if I insisted in doing investigative journalism that exposes the US government.

November 6, 2003

Francisco Gil-White
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Dear Francisco,

What follows is my response to your concerns, of which you first made me aware in writing in your email of October 21, 2003, that began like this:

"Rob the text below is identical to the paper version that I hand-delivered to you.



Francisco Gil-White
Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Pennsylvania

Robert DeRubeis
Chairman, Psychology Dept.
University of Pennsylvania
3815 Walnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19104"

My response also takes into account your requests, which you made in two emails on the Sunday, November 2, 2003. The first of those began:

"Dear Rob,

I am moving closer to agreeing with your recommendation about what to do concerning the pressures that Paul Rozin has been subjecting me to regarding my investigative journalism."

The second one began:

"Dear Rob,

I forgot one point, which would be this:"

Taking your concerns into account, I can tell you the following:

That I have talked to Paul Rozin about his conversations and emails with you. I told him that I thought it was a mistake for him to continue to advise you about how to include (or that you should exclude) certain topics in you course, as well as whether it was in your interest to continue your investigative journalism.

That I will inform members of the reappointment committee, as well as my other tenured colleagues, that it is my view that your investigative journalism should not be scrutinized, except insofar as it overlaps with your scholarly work.

That I will, if appropriate, make this same argument to the administration.

What I cannot do is ensure that these issues "are neither discussed nor taken into account by members of the reappointment committee" (or any other person or group). I am sure you understand that I cannot police the conversations of committee members and colleagues, and it would infringe their academic freedom if I were to tell them that they are not allowed to discuss certain topics. And of course there would be no way for me to uphold a promise to prevent them from "taking into account" anything at all, though again, I assure you that I will make my views clear on this.

In response to your question about the scrutiny of teaching, I can say that it is not unusual for various aspects of teaching to come to light and therefore be examined. For example, we seek student letters, and we take these letters seriously. This can involve checking out the statements made in the letters.

As for the makeup of your committee, I vow that I will do my best to ensure that its members are those best qualified to carry out the task, keeping in mind that there are various constraints within which I must work when I make my selections.

In general, I will work hard to ensure that the reappointment process is conducted fairly and in accordance with the governing rules and procedures.


Robert J. DeRubeis
Professor and Chair



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