Editorial: Professor’s unstable behavior cause for concern, dismissal

We always thought UNF’s derisive moniker “U Never Finish” summed up the shortcomings of our beloved commuter school sufficiently. Apparently we can add “Ur Never Fired” as another sardonic sobriquet to describe our home for higher education.

Last week, the Spinnaker reported the bizarre story of a UNF professor wailing a 2-by-4 at a contractor hired to construct a gazebo at his Queen’s Harbor home.

Dr. Tayeb Giuma, an associate engineering professor, took an Albert Pujols swing at Dustin Brown, the contractor, after the two reportedly found themselves at loggerheads over the price of the job.

Giuma is seen on his neighbor’s surveillance video — smile, you’re on Candid Camera! — coming from behind Brown with the 2-by-4. Giuma then swung the lumber and struck Brown in the back, reportedly leaving a bruise.

After the video was shown to police, they charged Giuma with simple battery, which carries with it up to a year in prison, should he be convicted.

The incident occurred almost two months ago, yet the details are just beginning to emerge. Along with them, a deeply disturbing narrative of an out-of-control professor and an apathetic or incompetent UNF administration starts to take shape.

The Spinnaker obtained police reports that paint a sobering picture of recklessness and disorder that shatters the standards of integrity and leadership we have come to expect from our esteemed faculty.

The police reports contain the following:

In 2005, police arrested Giuma for shoplifting from a Winn-Dixie location. The professor used a self-checkout stand to scan $21 worth of groceries. The only problem was that his shopping cart was filled with $220.81 worth of unpaid goods.

In 2008, Giuma was again arrested for shoplifting, this time at a Lowe’s, where he hid dimmer light switches in the box of another item. He was stopped while attempting to leave the store after paying for the boxed item, but not the stowaway merchandise. The arrest report pegs the value of this attempted theft at $162.

It only gets worse from there.

In 2001, authorities were dispatched to the Giuma residence on a domestic disturbance call. According to the police report, Giuma became angry with his wife, “grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the floor.”

No charges were filed.

In 2005, Giuma allegedly threatened a neighbor with bodily harm.

“I’m going to hunt you until you are dead,” Giuma reportedly said. Just last year, Giuma concluded an argument with another neighbor by punching him in the face. Now that’s Community-Based Transformational Learning. Unbelievably, this long list of ugliness merely scratches the surface.

Again, returning to the police reports:

In 1999, police came to the Giuma residence to investigate accusations of child abuse.

As reported in the Spinnaker last week, Giuma was arrested and charged with felony child abuse for restraining his daughter in a chair with a leather belt and leaving her in that position overnight. The responding officer “observed a busted blister on the victim’s wrist” and other abrasions, according to the arrest report.

The charge was later dropped.

With this arrest record and the visual evidence of anti-social behavior, how in the world was this man allowed to continue teaching at UNF?

Was the UNF administration unaware of these incidents? They had to be, right? They couldn’t possibly believe this behavior is acceptable for any university employee, let alone one that interacts with students on a daily basis, could they?

Giuma has served our university for better than two decades as a professor. He has had the opportunity to influence hundreds, if not thousands, of young minds in his position of academic authority.

Revelations that this latest incident is far removed Giuma’s first run-in with Johnny Law raise serious questions about his fitness to teach, just as it places the competence of the administration’s policies in doubt.

College is supposed to be the place where students learn to disagree agreeably — to share ideas and work out differences through the use of reason, not violence.

Giuma is correct to say that he is innocent until proven guilty. But where there is smoke, there is usually fire.

Giuma’s actions are repugnant and far beyond the pale.

He should be dismissed immediately. It’s been a long time coming.

16 Comments

  1. concerned 12

    Unbelieveable!!!!!!

    What are the University’s policies and how can this guy be allowed to teach? At the very least, when violence is involved, shouldn’t there be a suspension, with or without compensation, to ensure the safety of the students. The University needs to act or at least explain the process…. as doing or saying nothing is unacceptable, completely agree that Giuma’s actions are repugnant, and show a pattern that should not be accepted at any level, by any University, let alone ours.

  2. Quoting the author..”he should be dismissed..it is a long time coming”…

    Tayeb Guima did not show restraint with his own children..he should not have a chance to influnece other law abiding parents who send their children to UNF.

  3. jazzalum inum

    UNF’s failure to address this is appalling and irresponsible. Anyone taking odds on when Giuma’s next violent episode will occur? Perhaps the next one will be in the classroom.

    Nice work, UNF.

  4. Are you serious

    this angry and bitter man should not be influencing young minds. How can this angry petty thief be an employee on UNF?

  5. I believe he “stole” a student paper and published it as his own. Wonder if there was an investigation?

  6. Eyes Wide Shut

    If plagiarism did occur then surely the administration would have dismissed this faculty member immediately, right? But if they can ignore his pattern of violence then why wouldn’t they as easily ignore a professor ripping off a student? It does beg the question – which administrators are allowing bad professors to continue at UNF? Students are not a primary concern of the inhabitants of building one. That much is clear.

  7. As a graduate of UNF, I have a construction company now. I had the ‘pleasure’ of doing work for this guy. Right before starting the job, he asked me if I could do a bunch of work in addition to the job I was already doing, for free! I told him I could not do the work for free and I had to charge him something. He started screaming at me and kicked me off his property. The man definetly seems unstable, and I for one would be happy to see him fired.

  8. as a parent of a unf student,i am disgusted that that no one in the unf adm has taken this bully to task. looks like someone needs to cowboy up,and open a can of whupass on this donkey

  9. This Taliban-like male superiority is not that uncommon among certain groups. Guima has taken it too far to still be in this country, let alone allowed to teach in any type of educational institution. Whoever is over this man is clearly in collusion with him and sees this behavior as acceptable. This person has surely violated University policy and needs to be investigated, as well as others who are aware and have done nothing. All donations to the University should be stopped until this matter is satisfactorily concluded. Any ideas on how that can be accomplished? Now that would make people wake up, I’ll bet.
    I agree with Ken. This man is a menace to society. If this entire matter can’t be solved properly, perhaps some folks need to take the matter into their own hands (away from the cameras). Enough said.

  10. Concerned – you hit the nail on the head, when will the University act, do not understand how they can allow this to continue, do you really believe there is collusion with the University, something is not right and I can only hope justice is served.

  11. Student First

    Did you see the update in the Florida Times Union – See Below:

    A University of North Florida professor is under fire from some of the school’s students as he faces a misdemeanor battery charge after a contractor was attacked at the educator’s Queen’s Harbour home.
    Tayeb Giuma, an associate professor of engineering at UNF since 1987, had a pretrial hearing Tuesday in Duval County Court. It was continued to Feb. 2. He has pleaded not guilty.

    Guima, 56, was charged after a Sept. 25 Jacksonville police report said a contractor was attacked at Giuma’s home in Queen’s Harbour, a gated subdivision just west of the Intracoastal Waterway off of Atlantic Boulevard.

    Police said contractor Dustin Brown was beaten with an 8-foot piece of lumber about noon that day. Brown, owner of All True Construction, was at Giuma’s house finishing work on a gazebo the professor asked to be built. The attack followed an argument over the cost of the work, the police report says.

    “I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I had known the guy for about a year,” Brown said Wednesday. “It wasn’t a big job; it only took us a day to do.”

    Brown said the cost for labor and materials amounted to $3,200, which Giuma didn’t want to pay.

    “The adrenaline was going, so I didn’t feel it [the lumber blow],” Brown said “The next two or three days, there was a bruise and there was pain there.”

    Brown called for help from one of his employees, Travis Garrett.

    “[Brown] wrestled him to the ground until the police were on their way. … Dustin is not violent in any type of way,” Garrett said this week.

    Garrett called 911 and summoned police to the scene. When police asked Giuma what happened, he denied any attack, the report says.

    But Brown told police there was a security video camera at a house next door to Giuma’s home. Police looked at the hazy video, which shows a man hitting another man in the back with lumber, then arrested the professor.

    Giuma did not return two messages left on his voice mail this week.

    UNF has placed Giuma on administrative leave but disciplinary action should go further, according to some students.

    The UNF Spinnaker, the campus student newspaper, has been aggressively covering the Giuma case and the editorial staff in November called for the professor’s firing.

    “Giuma’s actions are repugnant and far beyond the pale,” said a Nov. 21 Spinnaker editorial. “He should be dismissed immediately.”

    UNF spokeswoman Sharon Ashton said this week the school’s General Counsel’s Office and Academic Affairs Division are investigating. She said the university was unaware of Giuma’s arrests prior to the September incident.

    Ashton said the university is sensitive to the criticism within its own community.

    “We’re always concerned about what the student body thinks, what the community thinks, what our faculty think, what visitors to our campus think. These are all things that play into what goes through our minds,” she said.

    Beyond the misdemeanor battery charge, Giuma has arrests dating back to 1999, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    He’s been arrested about a half-dozen times on various criminal charges. His most recent arrest before the September incident involved a theft from a store; the charge was settled in November 2008. While the Duval County Court withheld judgment, Giuma was ordered to pay $283 in court costs after pleading no contest to the misdemeanor.

    The previous arrests coupled with the battery charge prompted the Spinnaker staff to question the university’s administration for keeping Giuma employed.

    The Giuma allegations “raise serious questions about his fitness to teach, just as it places the competence of the administration’s policies in doubt,” said the Spinnaker editorial.

    Regardless of the pressure, Ashton said the university will review Giuma’s case before deciding what to do next.

    “We have an obligation to make sure we do a thorough and complete investigation. And if it takes longer than some people are comfortable with, then I apologize for that,” said Ashton. “We owe it to a long-term employee to make sure that we have all of the facts in front of us as we go through this investigation.”

  12. This guy is crazy…..

  13. It is great to see that he has finally been put to a stop. He is abusive in all fashions. I’ve heard he owns several rental properties in Jax and has a good amount of money, so why shoplift? That’s unreal. I hope he doesn’t “buy” his way out of this ordeal. He needs to be locked up in a mental hospital for ever.

  14. student98

    All I have to say is that this man is an excellent teacher, cares about the future of his students and is great asset to the engineering program at UNF. I speak as a former student of UNF, and as a former student of Dr, Guima. He helped me to get me started on the right track with my job and career and has truly made a difference in my life. Everyone has a right to “lose it” once or twice in a lifetime. We all make mistakes. Send to him to anger management class or something or another and let him get back to his job. This man is not a criminal, he has beem a productive member of his community and a well respected university professor for more than 20 years now. Please do not ruin his career over this. Spinnaker, find someone else to pick on!!

  15. I also agree that Dr. Guima is an excellent instructor and one who actually makes an effort to help students learn and make sure they know what they’re doing before graduating and getting into the real world. UNF needs this instructor in the line-up, and I think it would be absolutely repugnant (to use your term) to let these personal problems stand in the way of learning at UNF.

  16. Anonymous

    Tayeb A. Giuma is a very disturbed sassy person. He is brazen about was he says and does because all these years he has gotten away with his violence and vulgarity you know what, because he can. So what he lost his job. So what he spends a night in jail? No matter what has been done by the judicial system to help him control his violent behavior, he is still allowed to harass anyone he chooses. Tayeb is a coward he does it only when no one else is there to collaborate your side of it. He does whatever vulgar violent thing he wants. The police ask did anyone see him do it, did you get it on camera. Well we are not all rich enough to afford this equipment so he knows he can be as vulgar or as violent as he wishes. For his episode with the contractor he received 12 months probation and anger management classes. They did no good. He is still harassing me.

    He was also arrested for DWI in Oct. 2011. I guess the judge thought better of putting him in jail and authorized a breathing tube installed in his car which he breaths into so he can start his car. He thinks this is funny. Normal procedures for trying to control a person like him will not work. The only thing he understands is vulgarity and violence so maybe he should be treated the same way he treats others. I am sorry the Lord has put me in his path.

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