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University of North Dakota School of Medicine-The School
That Never Learns
I am sending you this because I think people should know about the crap going
on in the UND med school. This is a copy of a grievance that was filed by two
UND lab techs who are no longer working for the UNDSOM. No one took any action
about these complaints, and Dr. Drewett remains at the UNDSOM.
- Grievance Purpose
- To remove the threat of a hostile working environment. A hostile working
environment is, as defined by Affirmative Action Officer, Sally J. Page,
"Unwelcome and pervasive or continuous harassment which creates an
intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment." This defines our
working situation under Dr. James Drewett, The University of North Dakota
School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Pharmacology,
Physiology, and Therapeutics.
- Our purpose is not to personally attack Dr. Drewett, but to remove the
threat or fear employees are experiencing. And, to create an atmosphere
that is productive to scientific research.
- Dr. Drewett jumps immediately into over reactive anger. He yells, stomps
his feet, and pounds on the lab benches. His temper tantrums create an
uncomfortable situation for all employees present, and often cause
employees to become agitated and lose concentration. He treats his
employees like something he owns making his employees feel like something
he has scraped off the bottom of his shoe.
- When working on a calculation, he began to pound on his technicianís
lab bench next to her notebook. She felt intimidated and frightened, and
lost all concentration, unable to think and finish her work. August 1998
- When making up serial dilutions for Dr. Drewett, his technician made
an error in the calculation and did not make up enough of the solution.
Dr. Drewett threw ALL the tubes away and stood up and stomped his feet
so hard that bottles rattles on the shelves. He yelled at the
technician, "When I make up a solution, I make it right. I donít
make mistakes." The technician felt hurt, small, and insignificant.
- A technician mistakenly handed Dr. Drewett the wrong dilution of a
chemical. Dr. Drewett flew into a rage and threw away the tube and threw
a plate of cells across the room into the garbage. January 1999
- When using the speed vac, a technician neglected to turn the vacuum
on. Instead of pointing out the technician's error and helping her by
turning the vacuum on, or, simply, telling her to turn the vacuum on in
a reasonable manner, Dr. Drewett yelled at her, called her incompetent,
and then mocked her in a horribly degrading way. March 1999
- When another technician was making up dilutions, he began to shout and
pound his fist into his hand. She was unable to concentrate and could
not finish until he had left the room. April 1999
- He intimidated a new technician in front of other persons in the lab.
He belittled the employee about his math skills and knowledge. He
badgered the employee for an extended amount of time about his math
skills while pounding his fist into his hands. During this time, one
person in the lab began to have difficulty concentrating and physically
began to shake. Another person felt the need to leave the lab
completely. May 1999
- He has often complained about other technicianís, grad studentís,
and post docís skills and spoke of confidential information in front
of other employees. Some of the complaints could be considered as
- We have witnessed him speak to all employees of the lab, and his
peers, in a horribly condescending manner. He has held against all
employees a lack of proper education concerning math skills, but offers
little support or assistance in learning. When asked for his help, Dr.
Drewett loses patience and self control and goes into a yelling or
pounding frenzy. This behavior creates an uncomfortable feeling among
the employees of lab leaving them fearful.
- On another occasion, he interrupting a timed experiment in the tissue
culture room to shout and voice his own complaints about a grant. May
- Dr. Drewett shows little respect to the persons in the lab. He does
not hesitate to shout and fly of the handle at any moment. This creates
fear of being yelled at, and being the butt of jokes.
- When a demo pipette was shipped back to the manufacturer, he
immediately began to shout, stomp, and slap his hand without allowing
anyone to speak and tell him the reasons for shipping it back. June 1999
- Employees can not go to him for help with a problem. His immediate
reaction is to say that we should already know this and not help. We
fear approaching him with problems in the lab, or asking him for
assistance. He will not help, but instead make condescending remarks or
jokes at the expense of the person asking for help.
- In another situation, his technician mistakenly handed him the wrong
dilution of a drug. Dr. Drewett stopped the experiment and threw the
plate of cells across the room and into the garbage. June 1999
- Employees can not tell Dr. Drewett anything. He will not accept
suggestions or opinions. An employee made a suggestion to him and he
immediate inferred that she was lazy. He would not listen to her. No
employee will go to him with a problem. We canít.
- A package came into the lab of radioactive material that was not
marked radioactive. Packages not marked radioactive do not have to be
wipe tested within 3 hours. They need only to be wipe tested in a timely
manner. When he was told this by a technician and shown the procedure in
the radioactive manual, he flew into a rage, and would not even listen
to the technician. In fact, the technician was not able to speak a word
while Dr. Drewett yelled that there was no other higher power in the lab
than him, and was he says is all that matters. He went on to pound his
fist into his hand and yell that anything he said was the final word.
The technician was shaking so much from being yelled at in such a manner
that she could not perform the wipe test at all. July 1999
- Dr. Drewett referred too UND technician's as "underling's".
- Recommended Actions
- We recommend that Dr. Drewett seek treatment for anger management, and
perhaps take classes on how to effectively manage employees. Counseling
can be obtained through the EAP program provided by the university.
- Also, a neutral third party should be assigned to monitor Dr.
- Acceptable behavior by Dr. Drewett should include taking a time out
before confronting any employee, discussing problems in his office and not
the lab in the presence of others, ceasing all condescending forms of
communication, and the ceasing of yelling, stomping, and pounding. He
needs to learn that he can not manage employees by making them feel small
- We know that by making this grievance, we will experience, in some form,
a retaliation from Dr. Drewett making our work situation even more
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G. Drewett, Ph.D., University of Minnesota. Molecular
pharmacology of guanylyl cyclase-linked receptors. Research in the
laboratory is focused on a family of enzymes called guanylyl cyclases. Soluble
or cytosolic forms of this enzyme are activated by nitric oxide and carbon
monoxide. Particulate or membrane-associated forms are stimulated by peptide
hormones or heat-stable enterotoxins. Enzyme activation results in the
conversion of GTP or cyclic GMP. The latter is clearly an important
intracellular second messenger. However, the lack of inhibitors or antagonists
to the guanylyl cyclase family has hindered an understanding of the importance
of cyclic GMP in mediating specific cellular responses. The focus of the
laboratory is to define the importance of catalytically active forms of guanylyl
cyclase in mediating antihypertensive activities in the cardiovascular system
including: vasodilation, inhibition of adrenergic (sympathetic)
neurotransmission, and reductions in the synthesis of the salt-retaining
hormone, aldosterone. To this end we are taking the unique approach of using
virus-mediate heterologous expression, site-directed mutagenesis, and chimeric
enzymes in combination with traditional and novel pharmacology.
(Material presented on this page was donated to this