Help Dr. Vengalattore Get His Physics Laboratory Back
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Imagine spending 7 years doing your best work, publishing half a dozen findings in high-profile journals, training graduate and undergraduate students to leave a profound impact on their lives and careers, while building an impressive laboratory over 6-7 years with a few million of dollars of federal funding, for it to all be taken away when a student falsely accuses you of rape, because she doesn't want to you receive tenure and holds a grudge against you, and you're told that the "Twitter world would explode" if action was taken against a blonde female student for lying.
This is the story of Professor Mukund Vengalattore, who was denied tenure and locked out of his own laboratory after his former student, Dr. Lauren Aycock set out to ruin his career in order to advance her own with a series of lies. Her accusations each had multiple versions, and the administration at Cornell University quickly realized she wasn't telling the truth. However, her final accusation, that the two maintained a 'secret romantic relationship,' couldn't be proven or disproven, despite years of text messages and emails showing no evidence of a relationship. The former dean, a radical feminist by the name of Gretchen Ritter, decided to #BelieveHer, and denied Dr. Vengalattore tenure as a result, despite his excellent performance over six years.
After winning a lawsuit, court orders demanded that Dr. Vengalattore receive a new tenure review. The administration conducted a sham tenure review instead, defying court order. Dr. Vengalattore filed another lawsuit, and won again, on counts of violations of title ix, vi, and vii. Not only was male discrimination established, but race-based discrimination was also shown, as Dr. Lauren Aycock had made racist remarks in the laboratory, after being questioned about her lack of results in the lab. She exclaimed: "You are all Indians. Of course you stick together." University policies at Cornell, or the lack of interest in reprimanding a white blonde feminist in STEM, allowed her to get away with this and numerous other ill-intentioned comments and actions. This has to stop.
Currently, Dr. Vengalattore is waiting on yet another lawsuit to go underway. Cornell has numerous title ix violations and is delaying the process. Some of the administrators involved in denying Dr. Vengalattore tenure may be facing jail time over their actions, which include denying him due process and conducting a secret investigation behind his back, as well as suspecting him of being interested in "Western women" because of his race.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lauren Aycock enjoyed the privilege of quitting Dr. Vengalattore's laboratory in 2012, and then demanding that she be listed as first author on a publication two years later that involved her original experiment while continuing her studies outside of Cornell. During this time, she was listed as an "in-absentia graduate student at Cornell University" at the Joint Quantum Institutes website. Other students weren't permitted to be listed in this fashion. When Dr. Vengalattore listed her as "Lauren Aycock" in the publication, which becomes abbreviated as "L. Aycock," she claimed in 2014, the year of the tenure review, that this was sexual harassment.
Although the issue was see to be trivial, Alan Mittman, the Director of the Office of Workforce Policy and Labor Relations told Dr. Vengalattore that this could be "sexually suggestive" and that it would have been "inappropriate" for him to have intentionally listed her name as "Lauren Aycock" instead of "Lauren M. Aycock."
The culture of #MeToo affords women the privilege of claiming harassment when there is none, and women are never suspected for being ill-intentioned.
Dr. Lauren Aycock was able to graduate from Cornell, while writing 50% of her physics thesis on sexual harassment, based on a survey study where sexual harassment included misogynistic jokes, such as that women are not as apt at math and physics compared to men. That survey was recently published and it is being reported that 3 in 4 women experience sexual harassment based on these results, which is false.
The problem here is two-fold. When women fail to excel in their careers, they now have the option of using #MeToo to advance it, while ruining another man's career. There is no mercy, and no compassion, and most certainly, no equality.
Please sign this petition to help Dr. Vengalattore get his laboratory back and raise awareness on cases of false accusations of sexual misconduct, rape, and 'secret romantic relationships.' Without your help, innocent men will continue to get accused. This has to stop. NOW.
The Cornell faculty this petition goes to include the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as three professors who succumbed to #BelieveHer and worked with Dr. Lauren Aycock to unethically make false claims and damage Dr. Vengalattore's reputation. This includes prospectively emailing ten other universities to prevent Dr. Vengalattore from obtaining further employment.
Links to further reading:
Harassment at Cornell Physics Website: This website lists court documents from the various lawsuits Dr. Vengalattore filed against Cornell's biased administration.
Student Denied PhD For Creating Website: Yogesh Patil, a student of Dr. Vengalattore's, had his PhD withheld for 7 months because he allegedly created the above website.
Lauren Aycock's Study is Receiving Press: Feminist scientists who #BelieveWomen really like Dr. Lauren Aycock's study, but refuse to find fault in its methodology, or question if it is suited for a Physics PhD project at an Ivy League institution.
#MeToo is a Moral Panic: #MeToo is comparable to the Salem Witch Hunt trials.
For more details and a timeline of the events, please continue reading below
It all started in 2008, when Dr. Vengalattore, an MIT-trained atomic physicist was hired by Cornell to become an assistant professor of physics on a tenure-track. His contract was three years, and he was tasked with training graduate students and continuing with his research. His first graduate student joined him in the Spring of 2009. Her name was Dr. Lauren Aycock, and after her first year, she said she "made the best decision" by choosing Dr. Vengalattore as her mentor in her first year.
She was tasked with constructing an experiment, but in the Fall of 2009, she was struggling, which she relayed to her professor. Early next year, she considered leaving the project, so Dr. Vengalattore brought on another student, Srivatsan Chakram Sundar, as a graduate teaching assistant. The experiment moved faster, and Lauren grew jealous. This process repeated once more with a second experiment, where Chakram's addition to the project helped it move forward. This time around, Lauren decided to quit.
In November of 2012, Lauren formally withdrew from Dr. Vengalattore's project and continued her studies in Maryland. Unbeknownst to Dr. Vengalattore, she emailed a different physics professor, Lawrence Gibbons, that Dr. Vengalattore had attacked her in the lab by throwing a power supply at her. This accusation did not hold true, as the power supplies weigh over 100lbs and cannot be thrown at someone easily.
Lauren seemed frustrated, and Dr. Vengalattore promised to name her as the first author in a coming publication on the experiment she contributed to originally. In 2014, Dr. Vengalattore's second contract as an assistant professor was set to expire, and he was due for a tenure review, which would have granted him tenure if the outcome was positive. Lauren held a grudge towards her professor for a variety of unknown reasons, and confided with a different student, who is now a professor, that she would do what it takes to deny him tenure.
At this point, Dr. Vengalattore had been awarded $4 million of funding for his research and published six academic papers, while building three lab experiments, two of which had produced results. He was headed to become a tenured professor of physics at Cornell University.
Knowing this, Lauren approached two professors on the tenure review committee, Lawrence Gibbons and Richie Patterson, who are married to each other, to discuss a "situation." Here, she repeated her claim that Dr. Vengalattore had previously thrown a power supply at her. "Prof. Vengalattore became so impatient with my position that he picked up the power supply in dispute—a metal box weighing five pounds—and threw it at me" she alleged in a letter to the tenure review committee.
This was a conflict of interest and thus, should not have ever been considered by the committee. Nevertheless, her letter was taken into consideration, but it was decided that the tenure review should move forward regardless of the accusation, true or not.
Dr. Vengalattore revealed that Lauren had submitted this accusation to a different professor, professor Keith Schwab, but claimed that a piece of equipment had "slid in her general direction" once during a discussion where there was a disagreement.
After numerous letters of support and statements of denial from Dr. Vengalattore, he was set to receive tenure, until Lauren Aycock went a step further. In 2014, it was time to publish the paper about the experiment Lauren originally worked on. Dr. Vengalattore initially agreed to include her as first author, back in 2012, but since then, the experiment changed and it was not ethical to list her as first author.
Lauren was upset, and asked to be removed from the paper, but after some persuasion agreed to be included. She was listed as "L. Aycock," with her middle initial, "M.," not included. Lauren's first claim of sexual misconduct began here. She alleged that because he left out her middle initial, her name was sexually suggestive. Dr. Vengalattore thought the issue was trivial, as she had listed her name in this fashion on research posters and other publications and assignments previously, but promptly changed the spelling.
Her previous two accusations failed to convince the tenure review committee that Dr. Vengalattore should not receive tenure, so she came up with two new stories: she was raped by him, and they had a secret consensual romantic relationship. Dr. Vengalattore was informed of the allegation of the relationship, and in a metting with title ix investigators, he was questioned about rape. How does this story hold up when he is accused of both a consensual relationsihp and rape? That's what Dr. Vengalattore wondered.
Lauren claimed that one day, Dr. Vengallatore wasn't in the laboratory all day, so she visited his house, unannounced, and they had sex, which she claimed was rape. Laboratory logs indicated that this story was impossible, as Dr. Vengallatore was in the lab each day during the time specified.
Her story continued to be fabricated, until she and other professors whom she communicated with while attempting to thwart his tenure, settled on the notion that the two were involved in a 'secret romantic relationship.' Years of emails and text messages were scoured and absolutely nothing was found. With no evidence, it was decided that Dr. Vengalattore was lying and he violated the Cornell Romance Policy, and therefore should not receive tenure.
Amazed, Dr. Vengallatore sued, and was granted a new tenure review. The dean created a sham tenure review and soon after terminated him from his position in June of 2018. Dr. Vengalattore is currently fighting to save his laboratory and find a new position elsewhere. Cornell University administrators emailed ten other universities to prevent him from finding work elsewhere, treating him as a kind of sex offender, while having denied him due process. His laboratory, which involves millions of dollars of federally funded equipment, is not being maintained, and he is concerned the equipment will be completely ruined.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lauren Aycock has enjoyed two back-to-back fellowships. Her motivations for lying about rape, sexual misconduct and a secret romantic relationship are unclear, but what is evident, is that #MeToo has the power to destroy the careers of innocent men, and this needs to stop.
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