An Open Letter to the President of George Washington University; We Shouldn't Be Awarding Fauci

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

The following is a letter to the President of George Washington University, Thomas LeBlanc, regarding the University’s decision to award the President’s Medal to Dr. Anthony Fauci:

Dear Mr. LeBlanc,

My name is Scott Hounsell, and I am a recent graduate of George Washington University’s MBA program — and a proud one, at that.  My time at GWU has given me some of the best knowledge and experience once could ask for, and I was blessed to have some of the best professors in the country, if not the world. I proudly represented George Washington University at two study abroad programs in Germany and Morocco and was part of a group of students who traveled to Sweden to complete client projects. As I got closer to graduation, I was excited about celebrating that feat on the National Mall, in the heart of our nation’s capital, just mere yards from the US Capitol, the White House, and various monuments honoring the fathers of this great land. The fact that I was going to do that while graduating from the school that bears one of their names was certainly not lost on me and was something of which I was proud. Despite often finding myself in an ideological position counter to that of my professors, I never felt unwelcome or unappreciated for my unique perspective by any of my professors.  Attending the school was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

However, the pandemic that has gripped our country and the world for the last 18 months prevented me from enjoying that National Mall experience. I enjoyed my virtual graduation and have privately celebrated, but I had hoped to be able to celebrate with my fellow students at a future time when the opportunity presented itself. When it was announced that the University was going to hold an in-person event this year I practically jumped for joy, hoping that I could take my whole family with me to celebrate in DC.  That joy, however, has been extinguished in reading that the University plans on awarding Dr. Anthony Fauci with the President’s Medal.  Not only do I find this wildly offensive, but I ultimately believe that this will reflect poorly on the University in the future.

While I previously believed that Dr. Fauci was well-meaning, my work as an investigative journalist has shown that Dr. Fauci’s role in the pandemic may be more extensive and more damaging than anything he has done in his vain attempts to protect any citizens of this country.

First, I’d like to point out that Dr. Fauci has demonstrably lied to Congress during questioning about the funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the ever-increasingly likely source of the very virus that created this pandemic. During a hearing in May this year, Dr. Fauci said in no uncertain terms that the United States Federal Government did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This is a patently false statement.

Numerous NIH-published studies show that gain-of-function studies conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were funded by the NIH, the NIAID, and the Department of Defense.  Dr. Shi Zhengli, a lead researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has been found as a coauthor of studies published in conjunction with Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, and Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance.  That these studies were funded by the NIH and NIAID is indisputable and not up for debate.  That these studies were conducting gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses, similarly, is not up for debate.  These are public records, clear and concise, and run counter to the statements made by Dr. Fauci to Senator Rand Paul.

Here are the published studies:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4801244/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4797993/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5708621/

To further complicate Dr. Fauci’s blatant attempts to perjure himself before Congress, much of this research occurred during an Obama Administration ordered a pause in funding for gain-of-function research.  When 14 US institutions received notice to pause gain-of-function research in 2014, 13 of them complied.  Dr. Ralph Baric continued his research at the behest and direction of the NIH and NIAID as evidence by Baric’s disclosure in the above-mentioned studies.

From one of the studies:

These studies were initiated before the US Government Deliberative Process Research Funding Pause on Selected Gain of Function Research Involving Influenza, MERS, and SARS Viruses (www.phe.gov/s3/dualuse/Documents/gain-of-function.pdf), and the current paper has been reviewed by the funding agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Continuation of these studies has been requested and approved by the NIH.

And from the acknowledgments section of the same study:

We thank Dr. Zhengli-Li Shi of the Wuhan Institute of Virology for access to bat CoV sequences and plasmid of WIV1-CoV spike protein. Research was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and the National Institute of Aging of the NIH under Awards U19AI109761 and U19AI107810 (to R.S.B.), AI1085524 (to W.A.M.), and F32AI102561 and K99AG049092 (to V.D.M.). Human airway epithelial cell cultures were supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease under Award NIH DK065988 (to S.H.R.). Support for the generation of the mice expressing human ACE2 was provided by NIH Grants AI076159 and AI079521 (to A.C.S.).

It cannot be debated that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the NIAID who touted the benefits of gain-of-function research for the better part of the last decade, wasn’t aware of this.  If he wasn’t, he is inept as the Director of the Organization and is not deserving of accolades.  If he was, he has proven a liar and in open rebellion against the direct order of the President of the United States, and is deserving of prison.

For George Washington University to honor this man in the slightest is an absolute affront to every person in this country who has been negatively affected by the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.  I respectfully request that the University immediately withdraw the offer to honor Dr. Fauci, and instead offer that same award to any of the numerous front-line healthcare workers who have fought to save the lives of thousands.  Perhaps the University should honor Senator Rand Paul for bringing this matter to light and exposing the truth behind Dr. Fauci’s perpetuated fraud.  Should the University choose to follow through with the plan to honor Dr. Fauci, it will guarantee that I will never financially support the University in the future.

George Washington University taught me many things, but among them is that I should speak the truth regardless of whom it may hurt.  My above-mentioned criticisms are again, not up for debate.  No opinion outweighs the fact that Dr. Fauci is a liar and a fraud.  He is wholly incapable of leading the NIAID, should resign or be fired, and be held in contempt of Congress, face a fair and complete trial, and should he be convicted, serve the harshest of penalties available under the law.

Respectfully,

Scott A. Hounsell
MBA, Class of 2020