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Court Rejects Fired Iowa Professor’s Appeal

Court rejects fired Iowa professor’s appeal

IOWA CITY, Iowa ― An appeals court upheld the firing of a University of Iowa radiology professor Wednesday, rejecting claims that he did not receive a fair hearing.

Malik Juweid failed to prove that University President Sally Mason and a state attorney representing her had conflicts of interest in the disciplinary proceeding, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled 3-0.

After a lengthy internal investigation, Mason agreed in 2012 with a faculty panel’s recommendation to terminate Juweid for violating policies on harassment, disruptive behavior and professional ethics. He had sent hundreds of emails to a wide range of university colleagues in the prior years that included personal attacks and threatening and abusive language, the panel found. The Iowa Board of Regents upheld the firing in February 2013.

Juweid, an expert in nuclear medicine, contended that Mason and Assistant Attorney General George Carroll had conflicts of interest that violated his due process rights.

At the time of the proceedings, Juweid was suing Mason and other university officials, alleging they had retaliated against him for blowing the whistle on what he called excessive medical imaging on children by doctors at the university’s academic hospital. Carroll was defending Mason and the university in that case—which was eventually dismissed—while representing the university in the disciplinary proceedings.

Appeals Court Judge David Danilson wrote in Wednesday’s ruling that Juweid failed to show that Mason was biased against him.

“There is no evidence that President Mason was ever involved in the investigation, the decision to file the complaints against Juweid, litigation strategy, or assumed a personal commitment to a particular result,” Danilson wrote. “Juweid has failed to overcome the presumption of honesty and integrity of President Mason in ruling on his administrative appeal.”

Juweid also failed to present evidence that Carroll improperly influenced the firing decision or had an actual conflict of interest, Danilson added.

University spokesman Joseph Brennan said the school was pleased with the ruling.

Juweid’s attorney, Rockne Cole, said he was still reviewing the decision but that he would likely ask the Iowa Supreme Court for further review. The court would have the discretion on whether to take the case.

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