Former dean sues UNF

Hannah Lee, Editor-in-Chief

The former dean of the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction is now suing the Board of Trustees of UNF after resigning on Oct. 3. Mark Tumeo is stating that he was forced to resign.

Tumeo is asking for his position to be reinstated as a tenured faculty member, payment for lost wages, benefits and attorney’s fees, and a judgment saying that the Oct. 3 resignation email to Interim Provost Pamela Challey was coerced and involuntarily given.

In the complaint, he describes that on Oct. 3, Challey called Tumeo saying he had only two minutes to determine whether or not to resign from his position as a UNF dean and tenured faculty member. Tumeo states that he asked for more time to consider his options and to provide a defense, however, the complaint states Challey said she would permit him “three minutes” to resign.

The complaint goes on to say that Tumeo was not given sufficient time to obtain counsel and was not given a reasonable time to make a decision as to whether to resign or not.

On Oct. 17, Tumeo requested, through his attorney, to return to his tenured faculty position, according to the complaint. UNF denied the request.

“A tenured faculty member cannot be terminated without just cause holds a constitutionally protected property right in continued employment,” the complaint says. “Without a determination that the October 3, 2018 resignation is involuntary, Plaintiff would forfeit a due process right created by the Florida and United States Constitution.”

Tumeo is being represented by Thomas Delegal of Delegal Law Offices.

Spinnaker reached out to the university for comment. Joanna Norris, media relations director for UNF, said that the University doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The case will be heard by Circuit Judge Kevin Blazs.

*Updated: 8:45 a.m.

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