ASU cancer researchers fired

Cancer center lost federal grant funds, but researchers accuse administrators of sabotage

Melissa Lee Phillips
Mar 5, 2006
Thirty-one cancer center employees at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe have lost their jobs. University officials say the decision was a simple case of soft money running out, but two of the closed center's research professors claim that the firings are the result of a lengthy clash between ASU administrators and the former director of the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), chemistry professor George Robert Pettit."Since Dr. Pettit is a tenured professor of long-standing here, it's not very easy to just fire him," John Knight, a former associate research professor who lost his job at CRI at the end of January, told The Scientist. "So they've been ratcheting up the pressure over the last 18 months, trying to more or less force him to resign."According to ASU vice president of public affairs Virgil Renzulli, however, the recent firings have nothing to do with Pettit's tense history with ASU...

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