Stanford University president to resign following concerns about his research

ByDustin Dorsey KGO logo
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Stanford president to resign following concerns about his research
Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne says he'll resign August 31 following concerns about the integrity of his research.

SAN FRANCISCO -- After seven years as President of Stanford University, Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced Wednesday he is stepping down after a report was released detailing the findings of an investigation into his research.

Tessier-Lavigne was not found to have committed fraud or misconduct but said it was in the school's best interest to step away.

"Stanford is greater than any one of us... I, therefore, concluded that I should step down," said Tessier-Lavigne in a statement.

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Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne's departure comes after accusations of possible manipulated research, first reported by freshman Theo Baker.

Words from a campus-wide letter by Tessier-Lavigne announcing his resignation on Aug. 31 as head of the university amid research misconduct investigations.

Liz Lindqwister is a Stanford alum and a data journalist with our media partner, the San Francisco Standard, and has reported on this controversy.

She says this alleged misconduct and other issues, such as recent student deaths by suicide on campus, have created a difficult environment for students.

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Lindqwister believes Tessier-Lavigne stepping down is a good step for the school.

"I think most faculty and students and affiliates of the university saw it as a long-time coming," Lindqwister said.

Findings from the investigation cleared Tessier-Lavigne of fraud or falsification of scientific data during research conducted before he took over as Stanford's president in 2016.

However, the investigation found there was manipulation of data by researchers in five papers for which Tessier-Lavigne was the principal author. Investigators say he did not take proper steps to correct the mistakes.

Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement: "Although the report clearly refutes the allegations of fraud and misconduct that were made against me, for the good of the University, I have made the decision to step down as President"

He will maintain his role as a Professor of Biology on campus and will retract or make corrections to the papers in question.

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Stanford Daily Investigations Editor Theo Baker first broke the news of the alleged research misconduct last year.

"Research misconduct is often something that is shrouded in mystery," Baker said. "It's really a conversation that needs to be brought to the floor more because there's a lot that people who are in my position one year ago did not necessarily have context to understand. And my understanding is that I do not believe that a number of these issues had been raised with Stanford at the time that he was selected."

Lindqwister says the work Baker did and the resignation of Tessier-Lavigne highlight the power of student journalism.

"As a freshman, holding power to account in the most basic and straightforward way should be commended," Lindqwister said. "It has been in a word, but I think that part of the conversation is really important here because the Daily has done a lot of work here to hold Stanford University, its own parent-University to account."

Professor Richard Saller will serve as the interim president as a search for Tessier-Lavigne's successor begins.

You can read Tessier-Lavigne's full statement here.

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