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Douglas-Canizares Correspondence About Resignation


From: Frank L. Douglas <<

Date: Jun 1, 2007 6:37 PM

Subject: The MIT Environment 7 Resignation

To: Claude Canizares <<

Dear Claude,

It is with a deep sense of disappointment and a heavy heart that I have come to the decision to withdraw from MIT.

I have observed with consternation the inability of the institution to mange the James Sherley situation. My dismay is even greater because the Institute, after having agreed to arbitration, which led to Prof Sherley ending his hunger strike, now, has negated that agreement and insists on his departure on June 30 th, 2007. Frankly, I am so astonished that the Institute did not resolve this issue that it leaves me to believe that the desire to do this was and is lacking. Clearly, where there is no will, there is no way

I would like to thank you, the Deans, Directors and Leaders of the Schools, Divisions and Departments of which I am a faculty member, for their support of my work in establishing the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation. I would also like to thank my Co-Directors, Tony Sinskey, Ernie Berndt, and Steve Tannenbaum, as well as Dave

Weber, for their help in giving form to the vision of MITCBI.

Finally, I would like to thank Gigi Hirsch, Sherene Aram and Cheryl Mottley without whose dedication MITCBI would not have achieved its success and prominence.

I leave because I would neither be able to advise young Blacks abouttheir prospects of flourishing in the current environment, nor about avenues available to affect change when agreements or promises are transgressed. I will leave on June 30, 2007 and would recommend that I work with Tony Sinskey to ensure a smooth transition of

leadership of the Center. I am gratified that I leave behind a Center that is well funded and that provides a Safe Haven where experts from academia, industry and government can collaborate to improve innovation and accessibility of novel therapeutics.




From: Claude Canizares <<

Date: Jun 3, 2007 10:28 AM

Subject: Re: The MIT Environment 7 Resignation

To: "Frank L. Douglas" <<

Dear Frank:

I am saddened and very troubled by your email and your intention to resign. I would regret enormously losing you as a colleague and your leadership at CBI. I must tell you, however, that I believe you are basing your actions on inaccurate information. I am also disappointed that you did not bring your concerns to me prior to announcing your


I was directly involved on behalf of MIT during Professor Sherley's hunger strike. I can state categorically that MIT did not agree, implicitly or explicitly, to arbitration or to extend Professor Sherley's faculty appointment beyond June 30. MIT's sole agreement with Professor Sherley was to exchange and release our respective statements, as Provost Reif has said in his May 14, 2007 letter to the faculty.

MIT has not negated any agreement or promise it made to Professor Sherley.

On the day he ended his hunger strike, MIT committed to continue to work toward resolution of its differences with Professor Sherley. In fact, those efforts had been ongoing prior to that date and continued afterwards. The Provost, Dean Silbey, and I, along with several of our colleagues, have explored numerous avenues to resolve the current impasse. Starting before Professor Sherley ended his hunger strike and to the present day, MIT has urged mediation to bridge the wide gap between the parties.

We should meet very soon to discuss these matters and the future of CBI. I sincerely hope that you might find a way to reconsider.




From: Frank L. Douglas <<

Date: Jun 3, 2007 12:17 PM

Subject: RE: The MIT Environment 7 Resignation

To: Claude Canizares <<

Dear Claude,

Thank you for your comments.

I shall make an appointment to discuss the future of CBI with you.

All I can say is that there is something awfully wrong if the Institution really believes that the hunger strike was ended based on this understanding. I cannot think of any negotiation, in which I have been involved, where there has been such a vast misinterpretation about what was agreed. Claude, I mean no disrespect when I say that the incongruence between your second paragraph and the first sentence of the third paragraph is so remarkable, that I remain perplexed. Does the institution really believe that Prof

Sherley would have ended his hunger strike if he really understood that 'continue(ing) to work towards resolution of differences' meant no arbitration process and a pre-agreement that he should leave regardless of the outcome of 'the resolution of those differences'?

I want to state again. The issue for me is not whether Prof Sherley should be given immediate tenure or not. I cannot judge that and would not even presume to do so. The issue is: Why has this great institution not been able to find a mutually, acceptable solution for a problem that affects, not only Prof Sherley, but every present and future minority faculty member? I am convinced, and I have other reasons to believe this, that the will to do this is lacking.

Claude, in my second letter, which I sent to those individuals who have helped in making my own efforts at MIT productive, I tried to explain the reasons for my action. Unfortunately, like Yogi Berra, I feel like this is Déjà vu all over again. I refer to the sixties, when institutions did not understand the existence and insidiousness of institutional racism.

Believe me, it pains me to give up my own personal dreams, but realization of dreams occurs within the context of realities and that determines whether the realization can be celebrated and enjoyed.

With sincere regards