After reviewing an article published in Crain’s Detroit Business about Dr. Robert Mentzer, Sue Ellen Eisenberg recognized the need for a counterbalance explaining her client’s position. A follow-up article “A few words in defense of Dr. Robert Mentzer” was subsequently published with the following advocacy explaining Dr. Mentzer’s case against Wayne State University:
“The president of Wayne State University has claimed that a 69-year-old full professor with tenure has committed “theft” simply by receiving his salary.
“Dr. Mentzer’s contributions as a tenured professor in the School of Medicine, with a joint appointment in two departments, have resulted in monetary benefits to Wayne State that nearly double the salary he receives.
“Dr. Mentzer’s contributions to Wayne State during his four-year period as a full professor with tenure include: publishing 16 abstracts, 19 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and three chapters for text and reference books; subcontracting over $415,000 in grant research funds to Wayne State, which provided salary support to a Wayne State faculty member and funded a clinical study conducted at a Wayne State-affiliated teaching hospital; assisting in securing the award of a training grant to Wayne State that paid for the tuition, stipend, and travel expenses of up to two doctoral students in 2014 and four doctoral students from 2015 through 2018; proactively and expeditiously bringing Wayne State into compliance in order to secure its future ability to receive NIH grants, which it was in jeopardy of losing; contributing a projected $25,000 in grant funds for a Wayne State faculty member through the next five years; and serving on national grant review committees, peer-reviewed journals, editorial boards, and a thesis committee in the Physiology Department.
“Dr. Mentzer’s activities have consistently been attributed to Wayne State. During the past four years, Dr. Mentzer never received a single negative performance critique or any indication that Wayne State was unsatisfied with Dr. Mentzer’s contributions. Instead, with absolutely no warning or notification, Dr. Mentzer received a civil lawsuit followed by the president’s public pronouncements accusing him of ‘theft.’
“While it is always important to manage and conserve fiscal resources and protect the public interest, this action taken by Wayne State contravenes that principle in its entirety. Dr. Mentzer contributes more to Wayne State than he receives, making him a profitable asset to the university. It appears, however, that Wayne State has elected to spend its time and fiscal resources in court.”