UNF: Giuma's battery charge provides grounds for termination


After the completion of a more than four-month investigation, professor Tayeb Giuma’s past history has caused University Provost Mark Workman to send Giuma a Notice of Intent to Terminate Feb. 2.

Giuma, associate professor of engineering, was arrested for battery when he attacked his contractor, Dustin Brown, Sept. 25 with a 2-by-4 outside of his Queen’s Harbour home over a dispute regarding payment for work done. He has also been arrested for a litany of other charges in the past 10 years.

“Your behavior on Sept. 25 is cause alone for your termination,” Workman said in the letter addressed to Giuma. “Under the circumstances, the university can no longer assume the risk of retaining you as an employee.”

UNF President John Delaney doesn’t think Giuma will have the documents to overturn this termination like he has done to a previous termination letter, which stemmed from allegations of plagiarism.

“It will be very hard [for Giuma] to provide any information that discounts his behavior over the last 10 years,” said UNF Associate General Counsel Marc Snow, who was in charge of the investigation.

Giuma’s battery charge and the results of a private investigation, funded by Tom Piatak, Giuma’s neighbor, prompted the investigation.

Snow said he contacted everyone mentioned in the private investigation but his investigation was not limited to the P.I. report.

“Ultimately it seems as though Dr. Giuma is in complete denial about the impact of his actions on others and sees nothing wrong with his behavior,” Snow said in his investigative report.

Snow said he also found it difficult to get the truth out of Giuma.

“I have serious concerns about Giuma’s truthfulness in what he stated in response to many of the issues we discussed,” Snow also wrote.

Brown said he is “absolutely pleased” with the outcome of the investigation.

“I’m glad he is no longer at the university,” he said.

Brown has not brought up civil charges against Giuma, but he has put a lien, a formal hold against property to secure payment, against Giuma’s house.

Giuma owns more than 20 properties throughout Jacksonville, according to Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office. The properties combined are worth more than $5 million, according to 2010 estimates.

UNF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida President Henry Thomas has supported Giuma, a tenured professor and vice president of the union, in past plagiarism allegations but has declined to comment in this case.

Delaney said the original charge of plagiarism was hard for the university to prove.

Giuma’s students who have previously alleged he plagiarized their work were not satisfied with the results of the university’s investigation.

The investigation went to a three-person faculty panel. The panel decided not to recommend an investigation because the allegations regarding plagiarism were not covered under the current code at UNF.

When dismissing the case, the panel cited a previous case that Giuma was charged with as defense.

Workman’s continued investigation showed that Giuma, did in fact, plagiarize and recommended termination, which Delaney initially supported.

After many meetings with Giuma, Delaney sent him a letter stating that the university was no longer seeking his termination.

The Spinnaker has made several attempts to contact Giuma and has left him voice mails since its Jan. 26 telephone interview regarding past plagiarism allegations.

e-mail Josh Gore at:   [email protected]