Rice wrote he found reason to believe Juweid had violated university policies on eMail use and requiring faculty members to show respect for colleagues.
He cited excerpts from 27 eMails sent over the past year that he said subjected Juweid’s colleagues to “personal vilification and verbal abuse.” He said those were “just a sample” of those in question. The university was seeking disciplinary action that could include termination, he wrote.
A second letter said Rice’s office had received complaints from the medical college that Juweid violated policies governing retaliation, harassment, and disruptive behavior and would ask an outside investigator to look into them.
Rice noted Juweid signed an agreement in 2008 to clean up his eMails after the school received complaints about their tone and content. Juweid identified those who complained as a prominent University of Chicago professor and a National Institutes of Health employee.
“In making these statements, you have disparaged and attacked the character and integrity of colleagues at the University and other institutions,” Rice wrote. “Even if there are valid reasons to disagree with the actions or statements of the various people you identified in these remarks, your abusive tone is unprofessional, unnecessary, and embarrassing to yourself and the University.”
Juweid stood by all of his eMails.
“They always represented how I felt, and they reflected my interpretation of what’s happening around me, and how I was treated differently from others who had different backgrounds,” said Juweid, who has been at UI since 2000.
He added: “I feel that about 10 percent of my department employees are prejudiced, bigots, Arab-haters and Muslim-haters. Thank God, 90 percent of people are decent people who are not like that.”
Rice, Fajardo, Geist, and Rothman did not immediately return messages on Feb. 17 . University spokesman Tom Moore had no immediate comment on Feb. 17 but said last month that Juweid had been placed on paid administrative leave at the recommendation of the university’s threat assessment team, which investigates cases of potential workplace violence.
Juweid has denied threatening or harassing anyone, and the university has refused to elaborate on why Juweid was barred from seeing patients, doing research, or setting foot on campus without a police escort during the investigation.