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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
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Fired Professor in Iowa Fails to Show Error

DES MOINES, Iowa (CN) - A fired radiology professor's claims of bias at the University of Iowa fails to support his firing over purported harassment, a state appeals court ruled.

Malik Juweid faced disciplinary proceedings in June 2012 for allegedly sending inflammatory and harassing emails to his colleagues at the University of Iowa, accusing them of being "anti-Arab," among other things.

Juweid, a tenured member of the Carver College of Medicine, insisted that the school had retaliated against him for his persistent recommendation that it reduce the use of radioactive imaging in children, a subject of his research.

Juweid unsuccessfully sued university president Sally Mason on the basis of purported whistle-blower protections. Meantime, Mason approved a recommendation from the disciplinary panel to fire Juweid.

Juweid claimed that conflicts of interest interfered with his right to due process in the proceedings, but the university's board of regents declined to pause the disciplinary proceedings pending resolution of the professor's civil case .

"The simple fact that two proceedings are pending in two different forums is not, in and of itself, enough to establish bias," the board found, as quoted by the Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday. "To find otherwise would permit an employee to interfere with established University disciplinary procedures simply by filing litigation against the decision-maker."

In affirming that Juweid was afforded due process, a three-judge appellate panel said "nothing in [the] record indicates President Mason prejudged the facts of Juweid's appeal following the unanimous recommendation of the faculty panel."

"Moreover ... President Mason's decision was not the final agency action," Judge David Danilson wrote for the court. "Rather, the board of regents provided the final ruling."

Ultimately, Juweid "failed to overcome the presumption of honesty and integrity of President Mason in ruling on his administrative appeal," Danilson concluded.

The court also saw no conflict of interest with Assistant Attorney General George Carroll's advisory role in the public proceedings, again citing the fact that the final decision rested with the board of regents.

Juweid's attorney, Rockne Cole, told the Des Moines Register he will likely be taking the case to the Iowa Supreme Court for further review.

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