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Forced to Resign, Frazier Rehired

By David A. Plotz

A University professor who resigned last fall after admitting to plagiarism has been reinstated by the Harvard-affiliated hospital he headed, Harvard and hospital officials said yesterday.

Shervert H. Frazier, who resigned his posts as director of McLean Hospital and head of the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry in November, has not been rehired by the University.

Frazier will return to McLean later this month as a staff psychiatrist and "psychiatrist-in-chief, emeritus," but not to his former position as director, McLean spokesperson Sandy Judd said. He quit his post after a University of Rochester graduate student uncovered articles that Frazier admitted he had plagiarized 15 to 20 years ago.

A Harvard spokesperson said the University does not plan to reinstate the former head of the National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH).

But Medical School Dean Daniel C. Tosteson '44 said in a statement issued earlier this week that he approved of the hospital's move to rehire Frazier.

"The action taken by the Board of Trustees expresses appropriate respect and gratitude for Dr. Frazier's many years of service," Tosteson said.

Judd would not comment on Frazier's misconduct, saying only that he "is considered to be a very valued contributor to psychiatry."

An executive committee at the hospital that included several of Frazier's colleagues "unanimously voted" to ask the McLean Board of Trustees to reinstate Frazier. The Board announced its decision Thursday, Judd said.

Frazier's responsibilities previously included training Medical School students, but Med School spokesperson Lillian F. Blacker said she does not expect he will resume teaching.

University of Rochester graduate student Paul K. Scatena prompted the four-month investigation of Frazier by a faculty council when he found articles in which Frazier had misused sources.

"I am a little disappointed and a little surprised [by the rehiring]," said Scatena. "When somebody misbehaves in this way, it's hard to know how far to trust them, and as far as medical purposes, I think you have to trust them a lot."

Psychiatrists who said they believed McLean and University officials overreacted to what they called "trivial" mistakes when Frazier left, said yesterday that they were pleased by his rehiring.

"The way he was removed left much to be desired both from an ethical and procedural point of view," said former colleague Allan F. Mirsky, chief of the laboratory of psychology and psychopathology at NIMH. Headded that he thought the rehiring made the MedSchool "look a little silly."

"As far as I am concerned, the Harvard MedicalSchool has been tarnished."

Frazier's supporters said the plagiarism didnot justify his resignation.

"Dr. Frazier has a history of a long anddistinguished career," said Gerald L. Klerman,professor of psychiatry at Cornell and a formerHarvard professor. "In the hierarchy of academictransgressions, it was low," he added, noting thatHarvard's actions were "excessive."

But Scatena said Frazier's plagiarism was"shocking," and said he would not trust anyone whoviewed the University's response as anoverreaction.

McLean functions as a teaching facility formedical students, but is not owned or run byHarvard. The hospital hires its own stff, butHarvard appoints some doctors as professors, as ithad Frazier, Blacker said.

Frazier taught at the Med School from 1972until 1984 and became director of McLean Hospitalin 1986. He could not be reached for comment

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