Report finds OSU president acted within his authority in ending anthrax study

An Oklahoma State University faculty report has declared that university president Burns Hargis was acting within his authority last year when he stopped a research project on anthrax vaccines that would have euthanized baboons.

Hargis decline participation on October 6 for a study that was to be funded by the National Institutes of Health that would have tested anthrax vaccines and treatment on baboons, which would then be euthanized.

Preparations for the project began more than a year before Hargis ended the study before it started, leaving researchers worried that future studies and academic freedom at the university could come under similar fire.

Compounding the decision was the withdrawal by Madeleine Pickens, wife of Boone Pickens, a major donor and OSU alumnus, of a $5 million donation to the veterinarian school after she found out that, after students performed surgery on them, animals were euthanized.

The recent faculty research committee report doesn't mention Pickens but does not that confidential information that may have been received by Haris is “the most uncomfortable part of the decision process for faculty to accept," according to to the Tulsa World.

The report also recommends that Hargis refrain from banning lawful research at the university without first discussing the issue with affected stakeholders.

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