Charles Schulz cleared in U of M investigation

The author of the allegations disputes the U of M's response.

The author of the allegations disputes the U of M's response.

The University of Minnesota has found no violations in an internal investigation into Department of Psychiatry Chair Dr. Charles Schulz, according a letter signed by Mark Rotenberg, the college's General Counsel.

A nine-page complaint filed with the Board of Regents in December 2009 initiated the probe, which accused Schulz of allowing pharmaceutical companies to use his name on studies he didn't write or research, burying negative research results, and violating ethics policies.

The U of M broke the complaint down into nine allegations, and cleared Schulz on all accounts.


"After careful examination of each allegation, we found no University policy violations or other improper conduct by Dr. Schulz warranting University action against him," writes Rotenberg.

Mike Howard, the author of the complaint, says he's not satisfied with Rotenberg's response.

"[Rotenberg] tries to white wash it all," says Howard. "That's certainly not the case, and I don't accept that."

Mary Weiss still blames the U of M for her son's suicide.

Mary Weiss still blames the U of M for her son's suicide.

Howard is a family friend of Dan Markingson, a 26-year-old who committed suicide while enrolled in a study through the U of M in 2004.

Markingson's mother, Mary Weiss, had tried to remove him from the study, arguing he was not mentally fit to consent. After the suicide, she discovered Schulz was a co-investigator on the study, and had received money from the drug company funding the research.

Weiss eventually sued Schulz and the U of M for malpractice, but a judge threw the case out before it ever saw a courtroom.

Howard penned the complaint against Schulz shortly after the judge's ruling and submitted it to the Board of Regents.

In late November last year, a group of eight U of M bioethicists also wrote a letter to the Board of Regents requesting an independent investigation into alleged ethics violations surrounding Markingson's suicide.

Earlier this month, the Regents declined to reopen the case, arguing it had already been looked into by a number of external investigators.

Howard says he wasn't surprised that his complaint was also dismissed, especially given the Regents response to the faculty letter.

"When they refuted the professors' letter, that was the handwriting on the wall as far as we're concerned," says Howard.

Howard says he isn't going to drop the allegations against Schulz, and is already planning his next move.

"It's not a dead issue," he says. "We're looking at some sort of appeal."

Previous Coverage:

  • Charles Schulz under scrutiny for Seroquel study suicide
  • Dan Markingson's 2004 suicide: U of M Board of Regents won't reopen the case
  • Dan Markingson's suicide: U of M attorney responds
  • Dan Markingson's 2004 suicide: U of M faculty seek investigation