Thursday, June 21

Letter to the Editor: Settled lawsuits show UCLA administration has not remained scandal-free

I read your August 21, 2016 editorial: “UCLA administration should learn from mistakes of other UC chancellors,” and thought you might appreciate a bit of feedback. Your conclusion that UCLA administration has remained “relatively scandal-free” isn’t exactly accurate.

I settled a case in April 2014 with the University of California for $10 million after administration completely mismanaged my reports of orthopedic surgery faculty wrongdoing at UCLA instead, I was subjected to retaliation and defamation. You did a short piece on my settlement. The previous year, UCLA settled with Christian Head for more than $4 million related to UCLA’s mismanagement of overt racist comments made about him at a department party, following his disclosure of wrongdoing by the chair and vice chair of his department. The University also settled with James Enstrom, a UCLA faculty member who was punished for exercising his academic rights to voice his controversial views regarding air pollution.

A key player, in each case, was Vice Chancellor of Legal Affairs Kevin Reed. We know for sure that in my case, Reed was coordinating malicious efforts with the Medical School Dean’s Office and with Medical School Legal counsel. Extensive evidence and testimony were entered into the court records, which is public record if you wish to review it. He left UCLA after these cases, although it is unclear if he was asked to leave or if he was actually rewarded behind the scenes for his support of the University’s scandalous activities.

The UCLA Chancellor was personally and actively involved in all of these cases. Instead of listening to our pleas for protection and assuring appropriate intervention, he left all three cases to be managed by Reed. His repeated failures to act resulted in tremendous personal cost for the individuals seeking protection and tremendous financial costs for the University. Unfortunately, the Chancellor was never held accountable.

My hope is that the Daily Bruin will dig into these actions with strong investigative journalism. The faculty, staff and students should be aware of what has happened. If not, history is likely to repeat itself.

Dr. Robert Pedowitz is an orthopedic surgeon and former chairman of UCLA’s orthopedic surgery department.




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