11 Jan 2010, 11:31pm
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U of I reinstates Marie Bulgin and finds no evidence of ’scientific misconduct’ in wild sheep controversy

Idaho Statesman 01/04/10 [here]

The University of Idaho reinstated a professor of veterinary medicine that had raised criticism for her comments to a legislative committee about whether disease could be transmitted between wild sheep and domestic sheep.

A school review cleared Bulgin of misconduct and officials said she will resume her teaching and research position under a “conflict management plan.” Here is the full statement released by the university:

In June 2009, news media reported concerns raised by several groups and individuals, including Western Watersheds Project and representatives of the Nez Perce Tribe, about comments Marie Bulgin made in her testimony before the Idaho legislature during the 2009 session and in her written statements in federal litigation relating to transmission of disease between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep.

The university took these reports and concerns seriously and launched a thorough assessment of the facts surrounding her comments. At the outset, the university and Bulgin mutually agreed that she would take leave from her administrative duties at the Caine Veterinary Teaching Center and refrain from conducting research regarding or disseminating research information on sheep diseases during the course of the inquiry.

The university’s assessment was conducted according to its scientific misconduct policy by Vice President for Research Jack McIver, who serves as the institution’s research integrity officer. The university’s policy defines scientific misconduct as “fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It also means any material failure to comply with federal requirements that uniquely relate to the conduct of research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data” (Faculty-Staff Handbook, Section 3230, B-14).

McIver did not find evidence of scientific misconduct in her testimony or written statements.

Bulgin will resume her former role in teaching, research and coordinating the veterinary medicine education program at the Caine Center and the university will begin restructuring overall administration of the Caine Center. Under university policy, Bulgin will operate under an approved conflict management plan that will address, among other things, her private activities as an advocate for the sheep industry. Conflict management plans are part of the university’s Faculty and Staff Handbook (FSH 6240, D-1). Details about an individual’s specific conflict management plan are part of the personnel record and, under Idaho law, are confidential.



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