In my earlier article, I presented a scandal of manipulated data and whistleblower intimidation at the School of Dentistry at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in USA. The central character, associate dean Cun Yu Wang, is a superstar researcher in his homeland China, but already there in his numerous “Wang’s workstations” he was accused of data manipulation. The whistleblower who reported Wang and his UCLA faculty colleagues, the associate professor Christine Hong, the senior associate dean Sotirios Tetradis and the dean Paul Krebsbach, for suspected research misconduct, was not named in the previous article, to avoid further persecution. But now the situation escalated.
This whistleblower facing massive retaliation from UCLA leadership is the orthodontics professor Kang (Eric) Ting, and he is now being accused of sexual harassment. Certain parties started to send out round emails to their faculty colleagues and to various US-based scientists, accusing the Ting of corruption and of sexual harassment of students. Some emails were signed with “Concerned Faculty”, others with… LEONID SCHNEIDER. The email with the subject “Justice will be served, the truth will come out”came from the same account as used in a comment under my article, email@example.com. It seems there is indeed a Title IX notification against Ting, lodged with UCLA office by his colleague Tetradis. The truly bizarre bit is: Tetradis pretended to act on behalf of a student who herself actually accuses this senior associate dean of sexually harassing and intimidating her.
All that you can read in the emails sent by Ting’s student (whose identity I removed) to numerous UCLA School of Dentistry recipients which I publish below.
The School of Dentistry and UCLA authorities so far refused all communication with me. Meanwhile, additional information about Wang’s antics came to light. My contributor TigerBB8 reports rumours from Chinese sources:
“One frequent co-author, Bo Yu, of Wang’s flagged papers is the son of his fellow friend Guangyan Yu, the president of Chinese Stomatological Association. Yu Senior and Wang were just 2 years apart in their DDS study in Beijing Med University School of Stomatology. When Wang went to UCLA Dentistry School to be on faculty, Bo Yu (Yu Junior) enrolled there the same year.. Yu Senior, with his enormous power and connection in China, apparently helped Wang to establish numerous “Wang Workstation” in China. Wang also opened his UCLA lab for Chinese trainees and visiting scholars. Just see how many of his flagged papers have Chinese co-authors. These papers helped established the bright career of 2 big guys there in this field in China. One of them is the dean of West China School of Stomatology, Xuedong Zhou, co-author of one of the flagged papers. Some Chinese scholars reported their fraud to their universities and only received pretty harsh retaliation. In response to the allegations of misconduct, Wang even openly said in one of his China labs that as long as the conclusion is fine, using wrong figures is no big deal.”
Wang is obviously very well connected. He seems to have some very good friends at UCLA too, especially if it is true that allegations of sexual harassment against his whistleblower are being fabricated by the person accused of Title IX issues himself.
It should be said that Ting was indeed involved into a UCLA School of Dentistry admission scandals in 2007, as it was reported here and here. But it remains to be determined how much of that was Ting’s personal responsibility, and how much was actually imposed by the UCLA leadership. It’s not like student admission bribes are a rare thing in US universities, especially in elite ones. There is even a Wikipedia page about that now.
In any case, the sexual harassment accusations seem to be driven by Ting’s UCLA colleagues who might be interested to discredit his whistleblowing about Wang’s data manipulation as well as the roles of other deans, Tetradis & Krebsbach. It seems, even the Sexual Harassment Prevention Officer and Title IX Director at UCLA, Mohammed Cato, took sides with the accused against the student and tried to sabotage her case against his friend Tetradis.
Read for yourself. This was the round email Ting’s student sent to counter the recent messages of “concerned faculty”:
As bad as it sounds, it is not shocking to me anymore to see this so-called “group of concerned faculty/ies” has invested so much time and effort to REPEATEDLY attack me for years throughout my residency/PhD training alongside with this faculty’s relentless attacks towards Dr. Ting and Dr. Kwak. To me, the email that was sent out was a solid evidence that there was an arbitrary personal motive coming from envious and deranged faculty member/s.
As what Dr. Kwak mentioned, I also do not feel the need to refute the twisted allegations fabricated by this anonymous “faculty member/s”. You can refer to the email I sent on Wednesday, July 25th 2018 regarding what really happened and who is actually trying to frame Dr. Ting in a negative light (please see attachment below). But thanks to this faculty/s who made me relive the horrible moments, I would like to express my concerns on how the school and the university have been handling my sexual harassment case. And I plead everyone here to please help me and demand justice from VC Jerry Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After delaying for almost a year, I have not received any concrete conclusion nor was given a timeline for completing the entire investigation including all the retaliations. Left alone, I did not receive any protection and open to constant retaliations and attacks on every single aspect of my studies up to this point. Here, I am not allowed to reveal the details because my case is being handled in the court, but I strongly urge you to ask VC Jerry Kang if you could help. My lawyer and I have been fighting very hard in this painful legal battle and I hope everyone could be the witnesses to make sure that justice is served.
Fortunately, I have faculties who are very supportive of me. My mentor, Dr. Ting and his research team, and Dr. Moon, our previous section chair, have been committed to protecting me from this vicious group of “concerned faculty/ies” to the very end. I only hope that everyone could see the truth beyond these lies and help to recover the peaceful, collegial, and respectful culture that UCLA SOD once had long time ago. I sincerely appreciate everyone who are sympathetic and supportive towards me and our previous administrative team.
The email had this letter by Ting’s student attached, originally sent as email on 25 July 2018, to all the senior faculty of UCLA School of Dentistry:
To all of the Section/Division Chairs and Program Directors at UCLA School of Dentistry,
I feel helpless and am extremely concerned for my graduation. For the past three months, I have been a victim of sexual harassment by our Senior Associate Dean, Dr. Sotirios Tetradis, who invited students to come to him for advice if we ever encountered any problem in the school. I was having disagreements with my research mentor, and thought that Dr. Tetradis could help. Instead, he distorted the issues to attack my mentor, and sexually harassed me. When I filed the Title IX complaint, his powerful colleagues discouraged me from filing.
At our initial meeting, he told me to close the self-locking front door that connects his main office suite to the hallway; I was not sure why this was necessary, but I did not want to be impolite and followed his instructions. After we entered his private office in the back corner, he shut the second door between his private office and that main office. His office is a quiet and secluded room, especially when both doors are closed and locked. I did not think that we were going to be alone in such a secluded setting and immediately felt uncomfortable. He told me to sit on his couch, and we began our conversation. He asked me if I had any email trails illustrating the disagreements and misunderstandings that I had with my mentor. At first, I hesitated to show him these very personal emails, but he kept insisting and pressuring me. I reluctantly showed him the emails on my phone; he then grabbed my hand, claiming that he could not see very well. I felt embarrassed and helpless. He then insisted me to forward the emails to him so that he can think of ways to manage the situation against my research mentor. As I hesitated and pulled myself away, he kept on moving closer and pressured me to forward the emails. His intimidating physical contact and forceful request pressured me to comply, and I ended up forwarding the email to him.
I was shocked to find out later on that he wanted to use me and the emails to falsify a complaint against my mentor, Dr. Ting. During the follow-up meeting, he ordered me to report Dr. Ting to the Title IX office, even though no circumstance warranted such an action. He kept on pressuring me to support his false allegation, by claiming that he and Dean Krebsbach “are much bigger and powerful than Dr. Ting”. He asserted that even the university and the Title IX office are on their side, especially since Dr. Tetradis and the Title IX coordinator, Mr. Mohammed Cato, are close friends. He assures me that Mr. Cato will do whatever favors Dr. Tetradis asks with one phone call. I refused to support this and argued against his immoral behavior. He then claimed that he would still file against Dr. Ting, whether I agree with him or not. Furthermore, he made another unwanted sexual advance towards me during this meeting, of which I do not wish to discuss the graphic details in this letter. I left his office that day feeling angry, disgusted, threatened, and confused. I had never thought that he would do such things; and hate myself for being so naive to believe that I could trust him. As an international student with no family members to turn to, I felt vulnerable and helpless. I had no courage to report Dr. Tetradis, knowing that Mr. Cato and Dr. Tetradis are friends. I decided to cut off communications with Dr. Tetradis and resigned from the lab that he had arranged for me. When he found out about this, he became furious. He contacted me multiple times and insisted that I meet with him at his office again, even after I told him that I do not wish to see him. When I did not show up after he ordered me to meet at his office, he went ballistic and traced me down in the orthodontic clinic while I was treating patients. He even emailed Dr. Moon and Dr. Ting and let them know that my action could negatively impact my graduation.
I was deeply scarred by these events, but I did not have courage to do anything because I was afraid of what Dr. Tetradis and Dean Paul would do to me. To my surprise, the Title IX office reached out to me. It turned out that Dr. Tetradis, had filed a complaint against Dr. Ting on my behalf, and Title IX office was eager to investigate. Therefore, I had no choice but to file a formal complaint against Dr. Tetradis and clarified that it was Dr. Tetradis who is the perpetrator. As soon as this happened, the Title IX assistant and director tried very hard to discourage me from moving forward with my true sexual harassment claim. I was SHOCKED, and raised my concerns regarding the conflict of interest between Mr. Cato and Dr. Tetradis. I demanded a non-biased third person to oversee the case, but they disregard my concerns. It gets worse; as it turned out, Mr. Cato had already spoken with the Dean and Dr. Tetradis on this matter. When I spoke to the Title IX person that they had recommended me to talk to, she even claimed a conflicting argument that Mr. Cato was talking to Dr. Tetradis in order to protect me from him, but this is clearly a biased process. I do not see this as a fair investigation process, especially after I found out that Mr. Cato insisted he would remain involved with my case and had talked to the Dean and Dr. Tetradis even before the investigation started. In addition, what type of protection would they be able to provide me when meanwhile Mr. Cato and his Title IX team have already claimed that they cannot give me any protection when I first had a meeting with them? Instead of providing protection to victims of sexual assault, Title IX’s main interest is apparently to shut down the case and brush it off. This misconduct is a gross injustice to UCLA’s reputation, and it truly defeats the very purpose of the Title IX office. Dr. Tetradis has misled his intentions, threatened my graduation, pressured me to falsely accuse Dr. Ting, falsified information that I had given him to frame Dr. Ting with fabricated evidence, sexually assaulted me in his private locked-door office, and stalked and retaliated against me when I did not comply with his request. I am reaching out to you because I am scared and feel that I will not see justice, because powerful corruption runs too deeply in this school. I plead for your help. At least police this Title IX process as it unfolds. Help me to stop this immoral behavior.
The “help” she received from the dentistry faculty consisted of mass emails denouncing Ting which contained sentences like this, sent on 31 March 2019:
“Most recently, Ting manipulated his resident to attack the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Personnel, hoping the distraction would alleviate pressure and scrutiny on his own corrupt practices by the school’s new administration. A female resident [name removed, -LS] who initially filed a sexual harassment complaint against Ting himself, suddenly turned around and accused the Associate Dean with the same allegation.”
The campus newspaper Daily Bruin now reported and named the author of the whistleblower student, there is therefore no need to protect her identity anymore:
“Justine Tanjaya, a doctoral student in the School of Dentistry and Ting’s mentee, filed a sexual harassment complaint against Tetradis in June 2018 and sued Tetradis and the UC in federal court in April 2019.
In Tanjaya’s lawsuit, Tanjaya also claimed Tetradis urged her to file a false Title IX complaint against Ting, which she declined. Tetradis still made false sexual harassment allegations against Ting on Tanjaya’s behalf, according to court documents”
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