The Daily Northwestern
NU panel to investigate prof's research tactics
Transsexuals: Bailey didn't get consent for book
University officials plan to launch a full investigation into allegations that a Northwestern psychology professor featured stories from transsexual women in his latest book without receiving their consent.
Since July at least five complaints have been filed questioning Prof. J. Michael Bailey's research methods for his book, "The Man Who Would Be Queen," published in May.
An ad hoc committee has been reviewing the complaints since July 3 to determine if there was a need for a formal investigation, after Anjelica Kieltyka submitted the first complaint. Kieltyka, a transsexual advocate and former psychology student in the School of Continuing Studies, is featured under the pseudonym "Cher" in Bailey's book.
In a letter to Kieltyka obtained Monday by The Daily, C. Bradley Moore, vice president of research at NU, wrote that the investigating committee and Daniel Linzer, dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, "recommend proceeding with a full investigation of the allegation that Professor Bailey did not obtain the informed consent of research subjects."
Moore was unavailable for comment, and Linzer declined to comment for this story.
Kieltyka, a Chicago artist, said she hopes Bailey's book is recalled and that he publicly apologizes to her and the other subjects used in his book.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," Kieltyka said Monday. "I hope that Northwestern seeks outside agencies to come in and help with the investigation, because this has national (importance). The issues involved go way beyond just Northwestern, Bailey and this book."
Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations, said the university will follow "standard practices and procedures," which do not involve outside agencies, in the investigation, which has no set timeline.
In Bailey's book, pseudonyms are used for three transsexuals he met when writing letters to recommend their sex change operations.
In addition to Kieltyka, three anonymous women submitted complaints alleging they were unaware of Bailey's intent to use their meetings as research. Two transsexual professors, one from the University of Michigan and one from the University of Illinois at Chicago, also filed a joint complaint supporting the other women.
Bailey questioned the basis of the women's allegations in an e-mail to The Daily on Monday.
"The entire issue in dispute is whether what I did was a 'study' and whether the transsexual women I talked to were 'subjects,'" Bailey wrote.
If NU professors or students conduct a study involving people, they must submit a form to the Institutional Review Board, said communication studies Prof. Michael Roloff, a member of NU's Institutional Review Board, which reviews proposed studies.
The form outlines detailed information about the study's research subjects. In most cases, researchers also submit written consent forms filled out by the subjects.
Roloff said subjects need to be notified about the purpose of the research, why they were selected and what exactly will happen during research so that their rights are protected.
"People have a right to know what's going to happen to them," he said.
Bailey's book follows sex researcher Ray Blanchard's theory that transsexuals are either homosexuals or autogynephilics, men who are aroused by the idea of themselves as women. One of the complaints calls the classifications "insidiously malicious, demeaning and libelous."
Deirdre McCloskey, the UIC professor who filed a complaint, said she was "gratified" that NU will embark on a formal investigation.
"They could have whitewashed it," McCloskey said. "They could have ignored it, but they did not."
McCloskey said she thinks Bailey's research methods are "a grave violation of the responsibility of a psychologist and a scientist."
"I hope that at the minimum, the truth comes out about Professor Bailey's behavior," she said. "He used the lives of a half-dozen Hispanic transsexuals in Chicago to write a sensational book, and I think that's a shameful thing for a psychology professor to do."
The Daily's Elaine Helm contributed to this report.
Informed consent basics:
* If professors or students conduct a study involving human
subjects, they must submit a form to the Institutional Review
Board, which reviews proposed studies.
Source: Prof. Michael Roloff , IRB member
For more insight into IRB regulations, see the article "2 Transsexual Women Say Professor Didn't Tell Them They Were Research Subjects", in the Chronicle for Higher Education of July 17, 2003.
That article, along with the Daily Northwestern article above, also contains examples of how Prof. Bailey has been attempting to evade charges of research misconduct by misrepresenting (lying about) the nature of his book and the research work behind it.
Bailey published his book with the National Academy Press by claiming that it is based on his original research and that it is firmly grounded in the scientific method. He even describes within the book itself how he recruited transsexual women as research subjects (see pages 168 and 177), in an apparant effort to enhance the scientific credibility of the book.
However, those trans women never had a clue that they were being used as research subjects when they came to Prof. Bailey for his clinical help in providing SRS letters. Nor did their mentor, Anjelica Kieltyka, when she brought those women to him for his help. The women were stunned and outraged when they saw the book he published, containing as it did all sorts of incredibly defamatory caricatures and distortions of their human identities and personal lives.
When confronted by the trans women he caricatured, defamed and "outed" in his book - and under attack for not informing his research subjects that they were being studied - Bailey began claiming that he was not doing scientific research, nor that he was even doing "studies" on those trans women!
Incredibly, he is quoted in the media (see the Chronicle article excerpt below) as saying he had "never considered Anjelica et al. research subjects", adding that "I was writing about my own life experiences among transsexual women."
Gadszooks, does Profesor Bailey think that anyone will fall for that totally ridiculous assertion? These assertions are completely inconsistent with multiple earlier assertions right there in his book - assertions that were essential to its being published by the National Academy Press in the first place!
Thus we see the Chairman of the Psychology Department of a major U. S. university exposed as making a series of lies and evasions about his research. Worse yet, these lies and evasions are part of his struggle to avoid being found guilty of violations of research ethics and formal IRB regulations.
Furthermore, Prof. Bailey has shown no remorse or concern whatsoever for the emotional damage he has done to the trans women who were his research subjects, nor for the terrible impact of his awful book on the overall transgender community. He even continues to use the tactic of defaming trans women simply for being trans women, assuming that by simply publicly calling someone "a transsexual" that others will then not take their input seriously.
Well Professor Bailey, the tables are turned. You have been caught in obvious lies, and it is you that others are no longer taking seriously!
This affair makes it ever so clear why universities have IRB regulations, and why they require faculty members to get approval for any studies involving human subjects. By doing so they usually avoid the sort of totally out-of-control abuses of human subjects and distortions of "science" as have occurred in the Bailey case.
" ... Under federal law, research universities must have institutional review boards that oversee all research involving human subjects. Even if a professor's work is not financed with federal funds, Northwestern requires all research "involving the collection of data from human subjects" to be submitted for possible IRB scrutiny, according to guidelines posted on the university's Web site.
The IRB determines whether a professor needs to obtain the informed consent of research subjects. That involves telling the subjects the purpose of the research, as well as its potential risks and benefits to them.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Bailey said he did not want to talk about the two women's assertions. But in an e-mail message to The Chronicle, the professor wrote that he had "never considered Anjelica et al. research subjects." He added: "I was writing about my own life experiences among transsexual women."
The jacket of Mr. Bailey's book, however, directly contradicts that statement. It says the work is "based on his original research" and is "grounded firmly in the scientific method."
According to federal regulations, a human subject is someone from whom a researcher obtains data through "interaction," which includes "communication or interpersonal contact between investigator and subject." As long as the identity of the subject is known to the researcher -- even though the researcher may not make the person's identity public -- the participant may be considered a "human subject." ..."