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University of Florida professor resigns as an investigation raised “significant concerns”

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 10:43 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A University of Florida professor put in his resignation as the school continues to investigate the death of one of his graduate assistants.

Dr. Tao Li submitted his resignation on April 10.

RELATED STORY: University of Florida professor on administrative leave following investigation into student death

“I would like to inform you that I am retiring from my faculty position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering,” wrote Li in his resignation letter. “My last day of employment will be May 15, 2021.”

According to the university, since there remains an ongoing investigation, Li will remain on administrative leave for the remainder of his employment.

A public records request submitted by multiple news outlets earlier this year, produced a letter outlining the suspension of Dr. Tao Li on Feb. 15. His graduate assistant, Huixiang Chen, committed suicide in June 2019, and his friends believed Li had behaved abusively toward him.

“While one investigation is ongoing, the University has completed other investigations. The recent results of multiple investigations related to Dr. Li raised significant concerns. Before the University could fully evaluate these concerns, Dr. Li chose to resign,” said Hessy Fernandez, Issues Management & Crisis Communications Director at UF in a statement.

RELATED STORY: Memorial to be held in honor of UF graduate student

“The investigation related to Dr. Li’s treatment of students concluded that he did not engage in abusive conduct,” continued Fernandez. “The University is nevertheless committed to ongoing efforts to build a culture of care where students, faculty and staff feel valued and respected.”

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