University of Iowa may fire prof over eMails

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is investigating a professor's eMails.

The University of Iowa (UI) has started proceedings that could lead to the firing of a radiology professor who sent dozens of “prejudiced, insulting, and inflammatory” eMails to colleagues accusing them of being anti-Arab and threatening to sue and embarrass them, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press (AP).

Malik Juweid compared his department’s chairwoman to ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, sent a copy of his birth certificate showing he is Christian to a colleague he accused of having an anti-Muslim bias, and urged UI President Sally Mason to take action “before this all hits the press,” according to the university’s notice of charges sent in a letter this week.

Juweid gave the letter and related documents to AP, saying he sent the eMails in frustration but didn’t think they should be enough to strip him of tenure, a job protection that bars professors from being fired without cause.

Juweid has been on paid leave for more than a month from his $241,000-per-year job in the division of nuclear medicine.

“The university will never be able to terminate (me) based on these accusations and they underestimate the right of free speech and academic freedom of a tenured professor,” he said. “I followed the university manual, which says that vigorous debate should not be interpreted as a lack of respect. I admit I was vigorous in my critique as I am in scientific meetings and at conferences.”

Juweid, 49, claimed he’s being punished for embarrassing coworkers with reports of discrimination and retaliation.