UI proceedings into radiology prof may result in termination
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University of Iowa officials have launched proceedings that could end in the termination of a radiology professor who filed a discrimination complaint against numerous UI employees.
According to documents obtained by The Daily Iowan, UI Associate Provost Tom Rice sent a letter to Malik Juweid Tuesday saying he had violated university policy by subjecting his colleagues to “personal vilification” and “verbal abuse in an unacceptable manner” through numerous “inflammatory” e-mails following his initial complaint.
Juweid filed the initial complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in December, alleging high-ranking members of his department used racial slurs against him and his colleagues. He said Laurie Fajardo, a UI Hospitals and Clinics professor and head of radiology, called a Pakistani staff member “Osama bin Laden” numerous times and referred to Juweid as an “academic terrorist.”
UI employees said they felt threatened in conversations and by his continued e-mails. Juweid was placed on paid leave Jan. 11 on the recommendation of the UI Threat Assessment Team, with an annual salary of $241,000, said UI spokesman Tom Moore.
“I really don’t think that I intended to assault anyone,” Juweid said Thursday. “I just have a very rigorous style of speaking. I can not compare myself to Martin Luther King, but I don’t think Martin Luther King would have been called indirectly assaulting.”
As a result of his paid leave, Juweid said he has been barred from research and seeing patients. He also said he is not allowed on university property without a police escort, and access to his UI e-mail account has been suspended.
In response to Juweid’s request, UI officials turned over a CD with his e-mails to him. In an e-mail sent Thursday at 5:45 a.m. to Rice, UI President Sally Mason, and others, Juweid said he could not use the CD and threatened to ask the FBI to raid his office if the matter was not resolved by 9 a.m.
Rice replied to the e-mail, saying the UI would hire an outside professional to investigate the issue.
“This is important, I think, to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest in having my office conduct the investigation,” Rice wrote. Juweid said UI officials resolved the issue.
Last week, Juweid amended his complaint by adding 10 UI employees to the list, who he said retaliated against him after he filed the complaint.
Moore confirmed that Juweid filed complaints of discrimination and retaliation with the University office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.
“That office concluded that there was no reasonable basis to believe that university policies had been violated,” Moore said. “The university is confident that it has not violated either its own policies or state and federal law in dealings with Dr. Juweid, particularly his recent claims of retaliatory treatment.”
Juweid said the “racist” comments worsened after he and several members of the department approached Fajardo — whom Juweid compared to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — to ask for a 2 percent salary increase in July 2010.
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