Schulz’s leave signifies change

Daily Editorial Board

The first tangible step toward reforming the University of Minnesota’s psychiatric research practices finally came late last week.
 
Dr. Charles Schulz, who has led the school’s Department of Psychiatry since 1999, announced that he’s stepping down from his post after two recent high-profile reports renewed scrutiny of his office’s research.
 
Criticism of the University’s human subject research practices began in 2004, when Dan Markingson killed himself while enrolled in an antipsychotic drug study at the University. 
 
The institution’s response to the young man’s tragic death was subject to more than a decade of censure from scientists, academics and public officials around the world. This came to a head recently when two reports found that the psychiatry department had issued misleading statements in response to criticism and that a culture of fear and intimidation existed within the department.
 
In the past, University officials had largely been putting up a wall when anything negative was brought to their attention. Only recently have they been forthcoming about their mistakes.
 
But even these recent admissions have seemed to lack tangible action toward both reforming human subject research practices and fixing the institution’s tarnished image. 
 
We’re pleased to see Schulz be the first person to take the fall for the University’s serious missteps. While it’s unfortunate that one person is making himself a figurehead to take the blame, Schulz’s decision will hopefully help restore the image of all the good research that the University is doing and make studies safe for all subjects.