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Crime & Justice

Another dean out at USC med school – this time, over a long-settled sexual harassment claim




USC Keck School of Medicine
USC Keck School of Medicine
Aaron Logan/Flickr Creative Commons

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USC is once again looking to fill the top spot at its medical school for the second time in less than two years.

Dr. Rohit Varma has been dismissed as dean of the medical school, as the Los Angeles Times was preparing to publish an investigation over a sexual harassment settlement that involved Varma and a female researcher at the university.

Varma was appointed to replace Dr. Carmen Puliafito, who resigned last year amid a widening scandal over his hard-partying ways as the then dean of the medical school.

In 2003, USC settled a complaint filed by a medical school fellow who accused Varma – then an assistant professor – of sexually harassing her during a work-related trip. According to the Times, which obtained confidential personnel records pertaining to the case, Varma was formally disciplined for his actions.

Despite the incident, Varma was soon promoted to full professor and continued to rise through the ranks to eventually become dean of the medical school.

Given the sexual harassment settlement that took place almost 15 years ago, should USC not have considered Varma as dean of the medical school?

Guest:

Paul Pringle, LA Times reporter who co-wrote the piece looking at the sexual harassment settlement involving Varma