Education

USC Starts Procedure To Fire Former Medical Dean Amid Drug Abuse Scandal

REUTERS/Marc Serota

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

The University of Southern California responded to accusations of illegal drug use concerning its former medical dean by banning the faculty member from campus and initiating a procedure to fire him, according to a Saturday report.

C.L. Max Nikias, USC’s president, and Michael W. Quick, the school’s senior vice president for academic affairs, responded to the accusations in letters to the university community Friday, reported The Washington Post. The administrators sent the letters four days following an extensive account of former medical dean Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito’s partying and drug abuse in The Los Angeles Times.

Videos and pictures obtained but not published by The Los Angeles Times portray the dean taking drugs and spending time with drug users and criminals.

“We are outraged and disgusted by [Puliafito’s] behavior,” said Nikias in his Friday letter to the USC community. “It runs counter to our values and everything for which our university stands.”

The school president said that USC hired Debra Wong Yang, a partner of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm, to investigate Puliafito.

“We have initiated the required process to terminate Dr. Puliafito’s employment at USC and strip him of his faculty tenure,” said Quick in another Friday letter to the campus. “As we undergo this process, he is under immediate suspension from the university and is barred from our campuses and any association with USC, including attending or participating in university events.”

“We certainly understand that substance abuse is a tragic and devastating disease. But we are also bound to our responsibilities as a university to take the necessary actions concerning Dr. Puliafito’s status.”

Puliafito resigned from his position as medical dean in March 2016, three weeks after a 21-year-old woman allegedly overdosed in the former dean’s hotel room. Puliafito stayed on USC’s medical school staff. (RELATED: Southern Cal Cements Epic Party-School Status With Ecstasy-Popping Meth-Head MEDICAL SCHOOL DEAN)

USC’s medicine department climbed from #38 to #31 on on U.S. News & World Report’s rankings during Puliafito’s tenure as dean. The doctor had secured millions of dollars in donations for the school.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to USC and Puliafito for comment, but received none in time for press.

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