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Following numerous criticisms challenging the scope, legitimacy, and integrity of AAHRPP’s review, AAHRPP’s review committee visited campus September 9 and 10. Local news media and blogs covered faculty senators’ letter of concern and related critiques of AAHRPP. Vice President Brian Herman and Professor William Durfee served as the chief spokespersons defending the university’s selection of AAHRPP and Elyse Summers, AAHRPP’s CEO, fielded reporters’ questions about that organization’s financial, professional, and personal conflicts-of-interest.
Left unexamined in news coverage was the question of whether any other organizations had submitted responses to the university’s request for proposals. While university officials defended AAHRPP’s proposal as the “best” submission they received, to date there is no publicly available information concerning whether other organizations submitted applications and how the AAHRPP proposal was selected. Local news reports also did not note a discrepancy between AAHRPP’s proposal and the actual review team that visited campus. While three reviewers were identified in AAHRPP’s bid, six reviewers visited campus, reviewed documents, and conducted interviews. It is unclear whether any faculty senators other than Professors Durfee and Gini were consulted before AAHRPP was selected and its six reviewers hired.
An AAHRPP conference is scheduled to take place two months after the review team’s trip to Minneapolis. Pfizer is funding the meeting.