Speaking Out

On Funding Sources

I am simply astounded at Daniel Vining's letter in the May 21/28 issue. He faults the University for administering millions of dollars from the Ford Foundation, by citing rather tenuous "evidence" that the Foundation is somehow tainted by Henry Ford's notorious anti-Semitism. He cites one grant to an organization called "La Raza," which he claims is "rabidly anti-white."

If I recall, Dr. Vining had previously brought this matter up during a controversy over one of his funding sources: the Pioneer Fund, which was founded in 1937 to promote eugenics programs modeled on those of Nazi Germany. The Pioneer Fund is most notorious for funding research that proves the intellectual superiority of whites: its recipients have included Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, and J. Philippe Rushton, and a great deal of Pioneer-funded research was cited in Murray and Herrnstein's The Bell Curve. In short, the Pioneer Fund is committed to promoting science that "proves" white supremacy. (I recommend William Tucker's The Science and Politics of Racial Research and Russell Jacoby's anthology The Bell Curve Debate for more material on this subject.)

The response to Vining in the May 21st issue was simple, direct, and correct: that the University should protect the right of faculty to receive legally legitimate funding. This has been the case with Daniel Vining: while I deplore the source of his funds, and how his research has been used, he has the right to receive Pioneer monies. And this right has, to the best of my knowledge, been protected by the University.

Yet Dr. Vining now demands that the rest of the University refuse monies from the Ford Foundationa group which, despite Vining's endless nitpicking, is certainly less committed to racist doctrines than his own funding source. About the kindest thing one can say about Vining's demand is that it's simply irrational.

Brian Siano, Office Systems Coordinator, Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Medicine


Volume 42 Number 34
June 18, 1996

Return to Almanac's homepage.

Return to index for this issue.