EDITORIAL: Three Pressing Questions on Prof. Wansink’s Resignation Cornell Needs to Answer

In a stunning reversal of Cornell’s own internal investigation conducted just last year, a faculty committee has found Prof. Brian Wansink guilty of “academic misconduct.” The professor, who has had 13 papers retracted over the past two years (six of them yesterday), will resign at the end of this school year. While we are glad that Cornell has finally taking the appropriate steps to reprimand Wansink and insulate the University and its students from the growing fallout, the brief statement on matter issued by Provost Michael Kotlikoff is entirely insufficient given the gravity of the situation. There are several questions the University must answer if they are to regain the trust of Cornellians and the broader academic community. Firstly, what is the cause of the discrepancy between yesterday’s finding, and the finding of the April 2017 internal investigation that determined Wansink had not committed “scientific misconduct”? If this result is emblematic of a flaw in Cornell’s initial review process, the University owes it to its students and faculty to address and correct such flaws.