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Researcher Sues Harvard For Wrongful Termination

Case Heard Before Superior Court Judge

By Madhavi Sunder

The trial of a former School of Public Health (SPH) researcher who charged that Harvard wrongly fired him in 1987 was held before a Cambridge superior court judge earlier this week.

The research fellow, Armando Garsd, claimed he was fired after questioning the integrity of the data of a study conducted by SPH researchers.

Garsd was hired in 1986 as the project's manager and co-principal investigator. His responsibilities included checking the statistical accuracy of the project. According to his attorney, Rana Goodman, he was hired under a one-year contract.

Garsd says Harvard terminated his position before the year was up. Although Garsd claims he was fired because he began questioning the integrity of the data of two of the project's studies, the University maintains that Garsd's position was no longer was necessary for the project.

Garsd's supervisor, Professor of Environmental Health John D. Spengler, who is one of the five principal researchers involved in the study, also said he dismissed Garsd because he had illegally entered Spengler's office and read correspondence.

The project, called the "Six Cities Study," was designed to measure different levels of air pollution and their effects on respiratory disease.

Garsd said the study included a graph of sulfuric acid levels that reported some years' levels at one-tenth of their correct magnitudes.

But according to Goodman, Garsd did not introduce his accusations of fraud in the trial.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) began its own investigation into the legitimacy and accuracy of the study's data in September.

The jury-waived trial took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The judge, who currently has the case under advisement, is not likely to announce his decision until early August, a court clerk said yesterday.

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