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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Confrontation over UMass Medical's new chief

By Elizabeth Cooney, Globe Correspondent

About 100 faculty and staff were filing out of a UMass Medical School program to meet their new interim chancellor today when a confrontation erupted between physiology professor John Walsh and the school's deputy chancellor Richard Stanton.

Walsh objected to the lack of a competitive nationwide search for a
chancellor to succeed Dr. Aaron Lazare, who stepped down as medical school chancellor in March because of a heart arrhythmia.

The selection of Dr. Michael F. Collins, who had been chancellor of UMass-Boston, was one of the moves UMass president Jack M. Wilson disclosed on Tuesday to tie the university's five campuses closely together. He said naming a permanent medical school chancellor would be evaluated next year.

Walsh said in an interview that the appointment of Collins "smacks of the same cronyism that put Billy Bulger in charge of the university, that put Marty Meehan in at Lowell and now we have an executive from Boston taking over without any input from faculty or anyone else."

He then approached Wilson, who told Walsh interim appointments do not require search committees; Wilson cited Harvard's Derek Bok as an example of someone called upon to step in on short notice. Bok has been acting president since the departure of Lawrence Summers last year. Drew Gilpin Faust takes over as president in July.

Stanton got in the middle while Walsh and Wilson spoke.

"You are offensive as a faculty member," he told Walsh. "Your tenure has outlived your usefulness."

Posted by Karen Weintraub at 04:58 PM
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