LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of the University of Southern California's medical school is out a year after he took over for a dean who resigned amid allegations he smoked meth and hung out with criminals.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the university announced Dr. Rohit Varma would no longer be dean of the Keck School of Medicine just as the newspaper was prepared to publish a story disclosing that USC had formally disciplined him in 2003 after allegations he sexually harassed a researcher while he was a junior professor. The Times cited confidential personnel records and interviews with people familiar with the university investigation.
The university paid her more than $100,000 and temporarily blocked Varma from becoming a full member of the faculty, according to the newspaper.
USC Provost Michael Quick announced Thursday that Varma would no longer be dean, effective immediately. He did not say whether Varma resigned, retired or was fired.
USC's leadership had lost confidence in Varma's ability to lead the medical school based on "previously undisclosed information brought to the university in recent days," according to the statement.
It provided no details.
Messages left for Varma and USC seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Varma, a noted ophthalmologist, was named dean of the medical school in November. He replaced Carmen A. Puliafito, who resigned in March 2016 but remained a faculty member until USC announced it was firing him this year. His resignation came after the Times reported that Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and people who used drugs and had been captured on video apparently smoking methamphetamine.
At Varma's formal installation as dean in January, USC President C.L. Max Nikias told the crowd: "Healing, passion and hope — these words speak to the character of our new dean."
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/