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Petitioning Chair, UT Department of Sociology Christine L. Williams and 17 others

University of Texas at Austin: Do a Real Misconduct Investigation of Mark Regnerus


Only tremendous outside pressures finally moved officials of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) to do the right thing by having an independent outside panel investigate UT Professor Charles Groat.

Groat had carried out a study on fracking wastewater – (concluding that it was non-toxic) -- without disclosing that he was on the board of a fracking industry company and held $1.5 million of its stock.


With its perfunctory "inquiry" of Mark Regnerus's "New Family Structures Study" (NFSS) in the summer of 2012, UT has again violated the public trust.

If UT had done a true inquiry, it would have disclosed to the public that W. Bradford Wilcox collaborated with Regnerus on NFSS study design. Then, it would have done a full misconduct investigation.


Who is Brad Wilcox, and why is this so important?

In 2010, when the NOM-linked anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute organized the NFSS, Brad Wilcox was Director of Witherspoon’s Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy.

Witherspoon’s 2010 IRS 990 forms describe the NFSS as a “major accomplishment” of Wilcox’s Witherspoon program.

Wilcox recruited Regnerus to do the study for Witherspoon. After Witherspoon gave Regnerus a $55,000 NFSS “planning grant,” Wilcox collaborated with Regnerus on STUDY DESIGN. Then, Witherspoon arranged for Regnerus to have full study funding of $785,000.

It is A DOCUMENTED FACT that as Witherspoon Program Director, Brad Wilcox collaborated with Regnerus on the booby-trapped, anti-gay NFSS study design.


Nonetheless, in his study published in June, 2012, Regnerus LIES by saying that the funding sources were not involved “at all” in study design. In his “Additional Analyses” article published in November, 2012, Regnerus repeated that lie.

Wilcox also is an old crony to Regnerus and to James Wright, editor of the journal that published Regnerus -- Elsevier’s “Social Science Research.” Moreover, Wilcox is on the “Social Science Research” editorial board. It thus is hardly a surprise that when Wright was shown the documentation that Wilcox – as a Witherspoon Program Director – had collaborated with Regnerus on study design, Wright ignored that documentation, and published Regnerus’s lie for a second time.

Formulating and/or changing a study design to produce a study result desired by a funding agency constitutes misconduct.

For a researcher to lie about his relationships with his anti-gay-rights funders, in the pages of a scientific journal – as UT’s Mark Regnerus has done, twice – very seriously deviates from ethical research standards.

In the wake of the UT Groat scandal, UT is pretending that it is reforming its policies, which it has confessed were not sufficient to preventing flimflammery in research during the period Regnerus did the NFSS.

For UT, finally doing a real misconduct investigation of Regnerus will merely be a necessary part of the school’s finally getting its academic house in order.

UT Associate Professor Mark Regnerus is a shameless liar, with no autonomy whatsoever from his anti-gay-rights funders. The evidence and documentation already assembled – proving that beyond all doubt – goes far, far beyond what is stated above in this petition text.

UT must now carry out a full misconduct investigation of Mark Regnerus, if it wishes to begin to repair the public perception that the school is not at all trustworthy.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Chair, UT Department of Sociology
    Christine L. Williams
  • UT, Media Relations
    David Ochsner
  • UT, General Counsel to the Board of Regents
    Francie A. Frederick
  • UT President
    William Powers
  • UT Provost
    Steven W. Leslie
  • UT Media Contact
    Tara Doolittle
  • UT Media Contact
    Gary Susswein
  • UT Associate Professor
    Mark Regnerus
  • Dean, UT College of Liberal Arts
    Randy L. Diehl
  • UT, Research Integrity Officer
    Robert A. Peterson
  • Director, UT Population Research Center
    Mark Hayward
  • UT
    Board of Regents
  • UT President's Office, Chief Communications Officer
    Geoff Leavenworth
  • UT, Deputy to the President
    Charles A. Roeckle
  • UT, Deputy to the President
    Nancy Brazzil
  • Media Contact, UT College of Liberal Arts
    Michelle Bryant
  • UT Chancellor
    Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.
  • UT, Legal Department
    Patricia Ohlendorf

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