UF responds to Faculty Senate committee finding hiring of Dr. Joseph Ladapo violated University of Florida policies

New report reveals abnormalities in Surgeon General Ladapo's hiring at UF
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 1:40 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -An investigation by UF Faculty Senate members into the hiring of Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo describes a rushed process that violated university policies.

The UF Faculty Senate formed an ad hoc committee to inquire into the process of hiring Ladapo as a tenured professor after “concern expressed that the hiring was irregular and did not follow required and necessary procedures,” according to the report submitted by the committee.

The report lays out a timeline of the hiring process starting on Sept. 1, 2021, when UF Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini forwarded a CV to Dr. David Nelson, the senior vice president for health affairs. The timeline shows Ladapo was offered a letter approving him for tenure before the faculty had voted on the matter.

“To the extent unit faculty were consulted in this decision, their participation seems to have been pro forma at best, and nonexistent at worst,” stated the ad hoc committee.

The committee spoke with faculty members who voted to approve Ladapo for tenure. Numerous people in the College of Medicine said they were not given enough time or information to evaluate the candidate.

After being hired for the position, Ladapo was given a start date of Oct. 1, 2021, at the university. Instead, he requested to move up his start date to Sept. 20, the day before Gov. Ron DeSantis would announce his appointment as Florida Surgeon General.

The committee noted concerns that Ladapo was given an administrative appointment in the UF SVP of Health Affairs office and received an additional $75,000. Previous reports show Ladapo is compensated $262,000 a year by the university on top of his salary from the state.

“As a fact-finding committee, we were not charged with making recommendations for improving faculty participation in hiring and tenuring decisions,” reported the ad hoc committee. “But the irregularities were of concern to the members of this committee and appeared to violate the spirit, and in review the exact letter, of UF hiring regulations and procedures, particularly in the vital role faculty play in evaluating the qualifications of their peers.”

The university has faced criticism in recent months due to the appearance of political pressure influencing policies and actions. Those concerns include the university’s conflict of interest policy that restricted professors from testifying against the state and concerns about the reporting of COVID data.

In a statement to TV20, university officials said, “Dr. Joseph Ladapo was a tenured faculty member at UCLA who received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, a doctorate in health policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and completed clinical training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the teaching hospital at Harvard Medical School. He was a faculty member at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine and a staff fellow for the Food and Drug Administration. He has clearly met the criteria for being granted tenure upon hire at the University of Florida, and he received the approval of the faculty in the UF Department of Medicine for tenure.

The committee’s report focused on how the hiring and tenure process at the College of Medicine might differ from the hiring and tenure process for the rest of the university. The hiring process followed in Dr. Ladapo’s case is consistent with the hiring process used in other cases in the College, and the tenure process followed is consistent with the tenure process followed in all of UF’s colleges.”

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