The CognitionGate Report and Rebuttal
Accusations of CognitionGate It is a very weighty matter that brings us together here today. The probe into what has been called "CognitionGate" is finally concluded. I think that we are all aware as part of the external review, there was an investigation into the alleged scandals, abuses of power, and general tomfoolery surrounding our recent Area Chair. Through our tireless investigation, we have identified eleven impeachable offenses committed by Dr. Smith. These include: 1) Removing volumes of the Journal "Cognitive Science" from the 4th Floor Psychology Library, in clear violation of policy. 2) Charging copies to graduate students copy accounts. 3) Taking sandwiches and Snicker Bars from the 4th floor kitchen without paying. 4) Sabotaging the Church Street Elevator so that only he could operate it, creating a personal "Executive Chariot to the 4th Floor". 5) Abusing his executive privilege by secretly moving to a high-profile corner office. 6) Attempting to distract the public by declaring war with the social work program, by organizing an covert Army of Neuroscientists funded through PET scans that were never performed. 7) Recklessly watering plants found in the Hallways of East Hall. 8) Attempting lead Cognition and Perception in a hostile takeover of the University of Michigan Department of Psychology, by admitting the largest incoming class in recent history. 9) Violating the job description by gracefully and effortlessly wading through red tape and bureaucracy. 10) Conducting top-notch research while performing menial tasks for faculty and graduate students. 11) Suffering tirelessly through obstacles presented by countless meetings, paperwork, email, phone calls, and other trials only an area chair could know. It is truly unfortunate that Dr. Smith stepped down from his position of power before the full effect of this report can be felt by the members of the psychology department. Rebuttal by the Chair's Counsel Many of the claims made above are misleading or just plain wrong. While it may appear that Dr. Smith has violated the law, we contend that, although improper, these actions were technically legal. 1) Re: theft of the journal Cognition - Due to his prolific research publication record, every issue of Cognition in question had at least one article in which he was an author or was cited. Thus, the claim is that he was stealing his own material. That's just not possible now is it? 2) Re: using grad student photocopy accounts - As the investigators will admit. Dr. Smith was a graduate student at the university of Michigan at one time. As such, he is entitled to make copies on a graduate student account. The fact that the account wasn't his is merely a simple misunderstanding. 3) Re: the theft of food from the food club - Perhaps the investigators forgot to read the fine print. In her original food club memo of Sept. 1996, Debbie Apsley wrote "you can pay for the food after you enjoy it, at the end of the month." Well, we contend that Dr. Smith never enjoyed the food, thus shouldn't be required to pay for it. 4) Re: "Personal Chariot to the 4th Floor" -To avoid the shame and embarrassment that he would bring on the Area and the Department, Dr. Smith always took the elevator to the third floor, and walked the last flight of stairs. Thus, he technically did not use the "Chariot" as accused. 5) Re: the move to the corner office - This move was precipitated by unethical behavior on the part of Dr. Eric Schumacher and Mr. Travis Seymour. We have answering machine messages in which the two could be heard threatening and belittling Dr. Smith, demanding that he relinquish his office to them. 6) Re: War with Social Work using a covert army of neuroscientists - This was in response to aggressive complaints from within the social work department that cognition was not a hard science like social work. Dr. Smith did the right thing. And if you try to do something about it, you'll have a bunch of angry PET detectives investigating your hippocampus to dig up dirt on your past. 7) Regarding the watering of 4th floor plants. These allegations were made by a disgruntled former cactus in Dr. Smith's office. The claims have never been substantiated as anything other than the petty complaints of a desert shrub. 8-11) Regarding claims that Dr. Smith didn't neglect his other responsibilities, avoided bureaucracy, and performed high quality research despite being area chair. To this, he pleads guilty, and asks the nation's forgiveness.