November 29, 2004:
The Bailey investigation findings are in:
Northwestern decides to engage in a cover-up by
suppressing both the actual findings and their responses.
See also these later follow-ons to this NU announcement:
11-30-04: Christine Burns discusses the NU cover-up in the Press for Change News: "Northwestern to discipline J. Michael Bailey in Secret"
12-01-04: The Chronicle of Higher Education gets a Scoop: Bailey had already resigned as ChairPsychology way back in October!
12-14-04: A Quiet Victory
01-26-05: Lynn Conway writes Alice Eagly, Interim Chair of Psychology, concerning the dark cloud now hanging over the Department.
01-30-05: Ms. Eagly reported
saying Bailey's "sudden abdication" led her to take the Chair, and that NU's
leaders may have seen that as a good "antidote" to Bailey.
On November 24 - 27, 2004, complainants Anjelica Kieltyka, "Juanita", and Lynn Conway received letters from Provost Lawrence B. Dumas of Northwestern University (the letter to "Juanita" is included later in this posting). In these letters, Northwestern announced the conclusion of its initial investigation of Mr. Bailey. However, as you will see, they did so without revealing either the investigation's findings or the actions taken in response to those findings. Instead, the findings and actions are cloaked in secrecy:
"I have now received the formal report of the committee charged to investigate the matter; and I have taken action that I believe is appropriate in this situation."
- Lawrence B. Dumas, Provost, Northwestern University
We are now investigating and evaluating this response by Northwestern University (NU), and are also reaching out to gain a sense of the trans community's feelings about this cover-up by Northwestern. We feel the investigation's findings and the actions taken by NU regarding Mr. Bailey's scientific, ethical and sexual misconduct should be a matter of public record. Once we've had time to gather inputs and evaluate this situation further, we will release any additional details and our analysis.
Some unanswered questions that we are pondering and that journalists might investigate:
1. Was Bailey's book based on what he terms his "scientific research"?
2. Were "Juanita" and Anjelica Kieltyka his research subjects?
3. And if so, did Mr. Bailey fail to get informed consent from them to be research subjects and have their case studies reported in his book?
4. Given that the answers to 1, 2, 3 are Yes to all, based on the evidence---yes, Bailey was writing based on his own interviews with human subjects; yes, Bailey was using "Juanita" and Angelica as his research subjects; and yes, he failed to get informed consent from them to use their stories in his book, what steps has NU taken to insure that such misconduct will not occur again in the future?
5. How are other universities going to learn from NU's experience so that they can improve their protocols for research integrity, so as to avoid fiascos like the Bailey case, especially if NU completely conceals their findings, sanctions and procedural changes?
6. What is NU going to do about the compelling charges and evidence that Bailey had sex with one of his research subjects? Anything? Or are they going to be like the Air Force Academy, and just ignore such charges as if they didn't exist, signaling other faculty members that having sex with research subjects is perfectly "OK".
The first three questions are the ONLY ones that the NU investigating committee studied. They were not given the charge of sex with a research subject, or the complaints regarding Mr. Bailey's actions as a clinical psychologist without a license or his subsequent publishing of details of their case histories without permissions, nor were they given the "May 10th complaint".
We were informed by Northwestern's Office of Research Integrity on July 6, 2003 that the reason for not forwarding the charge of sex with a research subject was that the committee would first have had to confirm that the complainant "Juanita" was a research subject. Presumably if this were determined to be so, then the sex complaint would come back under investigation. However, as we now see, we are not going to be told whether or not the committee determined if "Juanita" and Anjelica Kieltyka were research subjects.
On reflection, our early reactions to Northwestern University's announcement can be characterized as stunned amazement: The suppression of the investigation findings, and the subsequent actions (if any) reveals that Northwestern apparently doesn't have a clue how to handle the embarrassing and shameful situation that Mr. Bailey has put them in. If they openly expose the results of the investigation, they will either be (i) shamed further by having done an obvious whitewash of compelling charges and evidence, or (ii) they will have to admit that "elite science" is sometimes flawed and is not the perfect and trustworthy institution that so many within it have claimed as the case unfolded. It is particularly astounding that the complainants in this matter have not been apprised of the detailed findings and any resulting actions.
As the Catholic Church for decades cloaked in secrecy their "investigation" of child sexual abuse by priests, Northwestern has now cloaked in secrecy its "investigation" of sexual, ethical and scientific abuse of transsexual women - saying what amounts to "Trust us. Take out word for it. We've corrected whatever problems there might have been..."
The Bailey case (especially given the concealment by Northwestern of the investigation results) is destined to be seen by ethicists, scholars, overseers of research integrity and historians of science as a major milestone in the widespread exposure of the transphobia now rampant in the elite institutions in our society. Exposed are the horrific defamations that institutions such as Northwestern University and the National Academies launched against trans women in the name of "science" and then defended in the name of "science". The vivid, detailed record of the Bailey case is now all there, widely and openly accessible on the internet, for student and scholars to study.
If you would like to share your thoughts on how to respond to the Northwestern cover-up, please e-mail Andrea James, Joan Roughgarden, Deirdre McCloskey and Barbara Nash, who will be coordinating our response to this situation
November 29, 2004
To gain an overall perspective on the Bailey case and its impact on the trans community, see:
"The Bailey Affair: Psychology Perverted", by Joan Roughgarden and "A Defining Moment in Our History", by Andrea James.
For more information, see the two websites that have coordinated the trans community's own investigation and expose of the Bailey case:
Andrea James' "BBL Clearinghouse" and Lynn Conway's "Bailey Investigation" pages.
FOLLOWING IS THE ACTUAL TEXT OF THE LETTER SENT TO COMPLAINANT “JUANITA”
REGARDING NORTHWESTERN’S “ACTION” IN THE BAILEY CASE:
633 Clark Street
Evanston, Illinois 60208-1101
November 22, 2004
Dear Ms. ███████
I am writing to inform you that your complaint regarding J. Michael Bailey has been
thoroughly investigated, following Northwestern University's established procedures for
handling such matters. I have now received the formal report of the committee charged to
investigate the matter; and I have taken action that I believe is appropriate in this
situation. Consistent with the established procedures pertaining to such matters and
general University practice, personnel actions concerning University employees are
confidential. Northwestern remains committed to ensuring that research activities
involving human subjects are conducted in accordance with the expectations of the
University, the regulations and guidelines established by the federal government and with
generally accepted research standards.
Lawrence B. Dumas
CC: C. Bradley Moore, VP for Research
Timothy J. Fournier, Assoc. VP Research
November 30, 2004:
Christine Burns discusses the NU cover-up in the Press for Change News
From: Christine Burns [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 30 November 2004 19:41
To: Press for Change News Distribution
Subject: US: NWU To discipline J Michael Bailey in Secret
North Western to discipline
J Michael Bailey in secret
News report by Christine Burns
CHICAGO Illinois - 29th November 2004
North Western University Professor J Michael Bailey is to be disciplined
in an unspecified manner, according to letters sent this week to trans
women who had complained about his behaviour.
The Professor, whose book "The Man Who Would Be Queen" caused an
international furore when published in March 2003, faced multiple
complaints from several transsexual women. Many of these contended that
he had made them into his research subjects without their knowing or
written consent, when they though he was simply writing surgery referral
letters for them. One of the women also alleged that he had had sex with
her whilst participating in what she later realised to be a possible
The exact findings of the NWU complaints investigation are seemingly to
remain a secret. With a degree of evasion which has stunned US trans
observers, University Provost Lawrence B Dumas avoids giving any clue as
to what the investigating committee actually concluded after more than a
years's deliberation. A letter received this weekend by complainant
Professor Lynn Conway is practically identical to those also being
received by the women who claimed to have been his unwitting research
subjects. It states,
"Your July 29, 2003, complaint has been thoroughly
investigated, following Northwestern University's
established procedures for handling such matters.
I have now received the formal report of the committee
charged to investigate the matter; and I have taken
action that I believe is appropriate in this situation.
Consistent with the established procedures pertaining
to such matters and general University practice,
personnel actions concerning University employees are
confidential. Northwestern remains committed to
ensuring that research activities involving human
subjects are conducted in accordance with the
expectations of the University, the regulations and
guidelines established by the federal government and
with generally accepted research standards.
Professor Conway was quick to condemn the statement:
"...it's a kind-of Catholic Church type of "Cover-Up",
a retreat into total secrecy about their findings, and
from telling the public what they're going to do about
"Here we have the elite science establishment simply
saying to those were abused by rogue scientists, like
the Catholic Church said to those who were abused by
rogue priests, "trust us, we've investigated and we've
taken care of it"...when in fact they never even looked
at the most serious charges."
Although the committee's findings haven't been revealed, it is
nevertheless clear that Professor Bailey has not been exonerated. Had
the investigating committee found him innocent of the charges made in
the complaints, it is inconceivable that they would have passed up the
opportunity to say so. Institutions only adopt this kind of tight lipped
approach when they are extremely embarassed and hope that the problem
will go away. In this case observers say the only logical conclusion
they can draw is that the committee DID find Bailey to be at fault, but
found the consequences of condemning his behaviour to be overwhelmingly
embarassing to confront.
Why might that be?
One good clue lies in the complaint which WASN'T investigated. The
allegation of sex with a research subject has not actually been
considered by the university's investigating panel, since the first task
was to establish whether the woman making the allegation was a research
subject or not.
Conway says that by failing to spell out the conclusions of the
investigating panel the university hopes to avoid the obligation to
investigate this second serious issue, which could continue embarassing
them even further.
Moreover, for a university reliant on contentious US Government funding,
the "was it research" question is considered by other observers to be
highly embarassing in its own right...
Since its publication in March 2003, gender identity experts, trans
academics and scientists from many backgrounds have joined in condemning
J Michael Bailey's book as bad science and dangerous drivel. In peer
review terms Bailey's only fans come from the small clique of
eugenically-inspired "bio ethics" researchers, who expected his book to
further their stigmatising aims.
At first Bailey claimed it to be a serious science book about his
research. When the condemnations started coming, however, he hastily
changed tack and claimed that the book was a popular work about his
exploits trawling gay bars as part of his interest in the field. Had the
investigating committee found that the subjects featured in his gay bar
antics WERE research subjects however (ignoring the ones he made up),
funders would be even more inclined to think very hard about how he has
been spending their money all this time. A case of "Research Jim, but
not as we know it".
Meanwhile, there are still more complaints in the system, regarding
further alleged acts of unprofessional conduct, so the professor is
certainly not out of the woods yet.
For US-based researchers the refusal of the authorities to state their
findings in this case will leave a big question mark over what
constitutes "research" with human subjects, and what kinds of human
research require informed written consent. This is a very serious
question affecting far more than J Michael Bailey's sexploits, and some
might have hoped a prestige university like North Western to take this
opportunity to provide some answers.
For trans people around the world the "non-findings" are a huge
The latina trans women who just wanted a referral letter and got an
unwanted place in a controversial book have been denied a reasonable
outcome to their complaint. All they know is that a secret committee
looked at their cases in secret and the university's provost reports
that they came to a secret conclusion. They are denied the right to know
that conclusion or to know whether the sanctions taken are reasonable or
not. No reasonable person would describe that as a meaningful complaints
process. It is a denial of due process. Nobody knows yet whether, as a
result, they will take their complaints to law or not.
For the rest of us, the result is also very frustrating .. in an affair
where, above all, people most likely just want to see closure.
Many may choose to read between the lines and deduce that the moral
victory has already been won in any case. The University would not have
hesitated to say if it believed that J Michael Bailey was innocent of
the allegations made. The only reasonable conclusion, therefore, is that
he is considered at least partly culpable. Some might be disappointed
not to know the disciplinary outcome -- a loss of tenure, a fine, a
written warning? Who knows? That's speculation.
What we DO know, however, is that other complaint allegations still have
to be heard .. the issues are so serious that they still remain
confidential .. and that this is a story which will continue to play out
for months (if not years to come) .. so watch that space over there.
- Christine Burns
This message comes to you from Press for Change, the UK's trans
More info & online-archives: http://www.pfc.org.uk/pfclists/
This page is part of Lynn Conway's "Investigation into the publication of J. Michael Bailey's book on transsexualism by the National Academies"