NYU considers hiring former MIT scientist David Sabatini after sexual harassment probe — report
It’s been less than a month since sexual harassment allegations forced prominent biotech founder and researcher David Sabatini to resign from his tenured spot at MIT. Now, reports have emerged that he could soon wind up at another notable university.
The New York University Grossman School of Medicine is considering bringing Sabatini onto its faculty, according to a report out Monday from ScienceInsider.
“Dr. Sabatini’s work and scientific accomplishments are widely recognized, and any decision about a potential role at NYU Grossman School of Medicine would be subject to careful and extensive due diligence and consultation with a broad group of stakeholders,” NYU said in a statement emailed to Endpoints News.
Sabatini stepped down from MIT in the first week of April, following an external probe that found he violated the sexual harassment policies of MIT’s Whitehead Institute. He had previously been ousted from the Whitehead, but waited to leave MIT altogether.
“Professor Sabatini engaged in a sexual relationship with a person over whom he held a career-influencing role, he did not disclose the relationship at any time to his supervisors, and he failed to take any steps to relinquish his mentoring and career-influencing roles, as the policy requires,” MIT president L. Rafael Reif wrote in an open letter earlier this month.
The outside probe into Sabatini’s conduct was prompted by a March 2021 survey assessing the institute’s culture, which “identified issues of particular concern in the Sabatini lab,” Whitehead director Ruth Lehmann said at the time.
NYU faculty and others in the industry have spoken out against the reports, including in Twitter posts.
“To say that I am disappointed in@nyulangone@nyugrossman is a vast understatement. Faculty and students there are speaking up to voice their opposition, and I hope they raise their voices and are heard by the school’s leadership,” wrote Nina Gray, an assistant vice provost for research planning and analysis at NYU.
To say that I am disappointed in @nyulangone @nyugrossman is a vast understatement. Faculty and students there are speaking up to voice their opposition, and I hope they raise their voices and are heard by the school’s leadership. https://t.co/XuOClJ8pLk
— Dr. Nina Gray (@neuronina) April 26, 2022
Anne Carpenter, a scientist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, wrote on Twitter that she declined last week to sign a letter offering support for Sabatini, organized by current and former lab members.
Last week I was invited to sign a letter offering support for David Sabatini, organized by current & former lab members. Universities considering hiring him have asked for this.
I will not sign.
There was no option to provide a more nuanced response, so I will elaborate here 🧵
— Anne Carpenter, PhD (@DrAnneCarpenter) April 10, 2022
“Universities considering hiring him have asked for this. I will not sign,” she wrote. “I just have to wonder how a supportive letter signed by some lab members is relevant, in light of 3 institutions concluding policies were broken, and in the absence of any route for dissenting lab members to provide input.”
Others have drawn connections between the Sabatini family and NYU, where his father, David D. Sabatini, spent more than 40 years as chair of NYU’s cell biology department.
Reminder that his father is emeritus at the NYU school of medicine (which he chaired 1972-2011)…
(Also for RU folks — reminder that his father did his PhD at R*ckefeller & then became faculty here + multiple faculty/staff were trained in their labs.) https://t.co/Jw1wr5tV5e
— Stephanie Marcus (@stephjoy_marcus) April 26, 2022