Why would anyone hire Sabatini?

David Sabatini, the molecular biologist who sexually harassed students and faked data, was first fired from HHMI and the Whitehead Institute, and then resigned from MT as his behavior was exposed. We’re done with him, right? He’ll go get a job in construction or pharmaceutical sales and we won’t have to worry about his unpleasant influence on academia anymore.


NYU wants to hire him.

The New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine is in discussions with biologist David Sabatini about hiring him as a faculty member, according to multiple sources at the school. Since August 2021, Sabatini has been forced out of or fired from three leading institutions for sexual harassment or for violating workplace or consensual sexual relationship policies. The hiring discussions have been taking shape over several weeks, according to NYU sources.

Note: “forced out of or fired from three leading institutions for sexual harassment”. I would have thought that would be a colossal black mark on your record that would have made you permanently unemployable, but no, I guess not. Why does everything I learn about academia leave me feeling more and more disappointed?

In part, this is because there are assholes at the top.

In an email to faculty and staff last week, the medical school’s dean decried what he called “cancel culture.” And last month, a prominent research philanthropist defended Sabatini to a crowd of elite medical researchers in New York City.

Hey, Mr Grossman, what you ought to decry is that your medical school is apparently the refuse bin for biomedical waste, and you are under the thumb of billionaires? Shouldn’t the faculty there be up in arms at being the dumping ground for MIT’s discards?

They are.

More than 200 students and employees staged a walkout to protest the NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s potential hiring of biologist David Sabatini outside the school’s Kimmel Pavilion on Wednesday, April 27. Sabatini, a former tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, resigned on April 1 following a student’s allegations of sexual harassment.

Grossman students, staff, faculty and postdoctoral students demanded that Grossman protect its students by ending the employment consideration at the rally, which took place across from the NYU Langone Medical Center at 30th Street and First Avenue. Kritika Srinivasan, a Ph.D. candidate at Grossman, said she attended the walkout because she believes that hiring Sabatini would contradict the ideals that the school claims to uphold.

Reject the idea of offering a known harasser and fraud a position. While you’re at it, fire Dean Grossman for being an out-of-touch stooge who doesn’t mind damaging the reputation of NYU.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    In an email to faculty and staff last week, the medical school’s dean decried what he called “cancel culture.”

    Looks like someone is kowtowing to donors who think higher education is a authoritarian dictatorship filled with “PC thought police.”

  2. birgerjohansson says

    I raise you a serial killer:
    The surgeon Macchiarini is on trial in Sweden för killing three patients with a method (synthetic throat implant) that was bogus from beginning to end.
    He charmed the managers at the Karolinska institute, and their wishful thinking made them hire him.
    Unfortunately he is a sociopath that used patients as lab rats for an experimental- and ultimately useless- method.
    The managers ignored the warnings of lower-ranking staff.

  3. Evil Dave says

    I am surprised that NYU’s lawyers wouldn’t have put the brakes on Sabatini’s hiring. If for nothing else, the increased risk of their own liability if he were to continue harassing others.

  4. anthrosciguy says

    Even if the organization is so thoroughly morally bankrupt that they don’t care about sexual harassment, and only about whatever money can be brought in by some academic star, isn’t the “faked data” part at all concerning? After all, that might interrupt the flow of money the supposed superstar can bring in.

    This is something that often strikes me. Even if moral considerations are completely off the table, how about liability and reputational hits, money spouts being turned off by people worried about faked data. Even from an extreme, morally bankrupt standpoint of greed, this seems like a really bad idea. It seems as if even people with no morals would nix it. But no.

  5. jenorafeuer says

    Not when your primary goal is ‘owning the libs’ rather than actually running a good school.

  6. brightmoon says

    Well we’ve got Kavanagh and Thomas on the Supreme Court . I’m mean no one really cares about a man who harms women, right? They’re only women, who cares! 🙄

  7. laurian says

    I suspect the HR lawyers of NYU are anticipating a whole bunch of billable hours

  8. gijoel says

    I would have thought falsifying data would have consigned him to history’s dustbin. Hell of an old boys network to ignore that shit.

  9. Erp says

    I would say having the medical school (NYU Grossman School of Medicine) be renamed after the current school dean, Robert I. Grossman, shows a great deal of hubris.
    I note that Sabatini’s father is a professor emeritus of the school which may be why some there favor giving him another chance.

  10. Nathan Mauk says

    Perhaps Sabatini and Avital Ronell (a notoriously abusive professor still on the NYU faculty after a sexual harassment scandal in 2018) can team-teach a class on how to mistreat students and get away with it, as long as you’re famous, well-connected and bring in the grant money.