UNF Prof. Tayeb Giuma broke his silence regarding memos and documents tying him to plagiarizing a student’s paper as his own Jan. 26.
Although documents dating back to 1997 linking Giuma to acts of plagiarism and academic misconduct were recently released, UNF President Delaney said the ongoing internal investigation surrounding Giuma is focused more on his criminal record, not plagiarism.
In 1997, Giuma was reprimanded for his behavior toward another faculty member, who was seeking tenure from the UNF Department of Electrical Engineering Director William Caldwell.
Giuma noted this happened because of a disagreement he had with the dean.
“The dean and I have personal issues,” Giuma said. “Ask anyone in the engineering department.”
Delaney acknowledged Giuma doesn’t have an ideal relationship with the dean. Messages left with the dean’s office of the UNF engineering department were not returned.
In 1999, former UNF Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs David Kline suspended Giuma for 10 days without pay.
Giuma said he was recouped for the pay, but no UNF officials or documents could confirm this by press time.
Kline cited Giuma in a memo to the Electrical Engineering Promotion and Tenure Committee in November of that year for a “lack of collegiality and unprofessional behavior.“
Respected as a tenured professor, Giuma contends he has never committed plagiarism.
“I have been cleared, really cleared by faculty subcommittee,” Giuma said.
Delaney confirmed Giuma has been cleared of plagiarism.
“It wasn’t clean-cut plagiarism,” Delaney said. “It was a muddied situation.”
He said that Giuma verbally agreed with one student to have research published.
Delaney admitted at one point the university was ready to dismiss Giuma, but the professor came up with new facts to defend his case.
Giuma said his relationship with the dean was the reason behind the plagiarism allegations.
The internal investigation that has been ongoing regarding Giuma doesn’t include anything about plagiarism, Delaney said.
The university began an internal investigation in light of the professor’s Sept. 25 arrest on battery charges and his past criminal record, Delaney said.
“I was stunned with professor’s criminal background,” he said.
Delaney was tipped off about the arrest the night it happened and immediately contacted UPD Police Chief John Dean.
UNF Provost Mark Workman also said that the Office of Academic Affairs is not currently involved in any internal investigation regarding faculty members and plagiarism.
Giuma declined to comment on anything regarding his Sept. 25 arrest, citing advice from his lawyer. His next pretrial date regarding this charge is Feb. 2. He has plead not guilty.
It is unknown how long this case will last, but Delaney, who has a Juris Doctor, says the case will probably last four to eight months from its inception.
Delaney said he has been unable to meet with Giuma, who scheduled an interview with Delaney after the incident, but Giuma later canceled.
UNF Spokeswoman Sharon Ashton previously confirmed there is an internal investigation, but she would not hint at when it would be over.
Workman, though, said he expects the investigation to end “very soon.” And Delaney said the amount of time left before the investigation is over can be measured in hours and days rather than weeks.
The results of the investigation could result in Giuma’s termination from university employment, but Delaney said he would have the opportunity to appeal.
“I am hurt,” Giuma said. “I care so much about UNF.”