Two prominent departures at top universities this month share a common link: curious student journalists.

Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced Wednesday that he would resign from his post and retract three decades-old research papers, after an independent review of his scientific work was prompted by coverage in the campus newspaper, The Stanford Daily.

Last week, Northwestern University fired its head football coach, Pat Fitzgerald, after its student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, reported that his players engaged in hazing rituals.

The back-to-back revelations highlighted the important role of college newspapers in holding the powerful institutions that host them accountable.

“I think it’s pretty clear that without our reporting, this report would not have come out,” said Theo Baker, The Stanford Daily’s investigative editor.

Mr. Baker, 18, resurfaced claims in a Nov. 29 article for The Stanford Daily that neuroscience research papers in which Dr. Tessier-Lavigne was listed as either lead author or co-author had altered images. The claims have been repeated over the years on PubPeer, a website that allows scientists to discuss research.

The next day, Stanford University opened an investigation into Dr. Tessier-Lavigne with a panel of outside scientists. Their report, which was released Wednesday, found that Dr. Tessier-Lavigne “did not personally engage in research misconduct” for the 12 papers the panel reviewed, but that some of the papers showed manipulated research data by members of his labs. and that Dr. Tessier-Lavigne did not take sufficient steps to correct the record.

But their report pushed back against a claim made by The Stanford Daily in February that a 2009 research paper on Alzheimer’s Dr. Tessier-Lavigne wrote when he was an executive at the biotech company Genentech was the subject of an internal audit that found falsified data and that Dr. Tessier-Lavigne covered it up. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne denied those claims.

“That allegation appears to be erroneous, as Genentech has stated,” the panel’s report said, although it noted “multiple problems” with the 2009 study.

Kaushikee Nayudu, the editor-in-chief and president of The Stanford Daily, said in a statement Wednesday that the newspaper stands by its reporting.

“The Daily never reported that Marc Tessier-Lavigne was personally involved in manipulating research,” she said. “We had access to different information and sources than the panel, which acknowledged that they did not grant anonymity to sources. It is possible that different conclusions can be reached based on those differences in process.”

Mr Baker declined to comment on the criticism in the report. But in an an article issued Wednesday after the audit was released, Mr. Baker reported that some witnesses refused to speak to the Stanford panel because they were not guaranteed anonymity and that the panel was aware of additional allegations that were not included in the final report.

Mr. Baker is the son of The New York Times chief White House correspondent, Peter Baker, and Susan B. Glasser, a writer for The New Yorker. In February, he became the youngest recipient of a Polk Award for his research on Dr. Tessier-Lavigne.

“More than anything, to me, this should raise conversations about the value of student journalism,” Mr. Baker said. “If you love a place, and I really love Stanford,” he added, “you want to push it to be more transparent.”

At Northwestern, student reporting revealed a harassment scandal in its football program. An an articlewritten by Nicole Markus, Alyce Brown, Cole Reynolds and Divya Bhardwaj on July 8, reported the extent of hazing allegations among football players at the university, including forced nudity and forced sexual acts, and showed how the university abused its investigation into the chicane, placing Mr. Fitzgerald, the coach, only on a two-week suspension.

Two days later, the reporters continued with an article about the racist culture in the football program. Mr. Fitzgerald was shot that day (Mr. Fitzgerald said in a statement to ESPN at the time that he was “surprised” and that his agent and attorney “will take the necessary steps to protect my rights in accordance with the law.”)

The students’ research prompted a trial against Northwestern and Mr. Fitzgerald, which was filed Tuesday by a former Northwestern football player who claims he was subjected to harassment, physical abuse and racial discrimination.

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