One last say in Tumeo case as closing arguments show both sides of the story

Heydi Ortiz and Courtney Green

We now know the final arguments in the case for and against a former dean getting his job back at UNF. 

Spinnaker obtained the closing written arguments in the Mark Tumeo vs. The Board of Trustees of UNF case.

As first reported by Spinnaker, on October 3, 2018, Dr. Mark Tumeo resigned as Dean of the College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction after being caught engaging in a sex act with another man on campus. The act was consensual and not with a student.

The same day, former UNF President John Delaney reached out to Tumeo by text and recommended he get a lawyer, as seen here. Tumeo claimed he was given three minutes to resign by then Interim Provost, Pam Chally and now claims it was forceful coercion. He is now suing to be reinstated as a tenured faculty member.

In the written closing arguments, UNF’s attorneys said Tumeo was not coerced into resigning. Instead, they maintain that they gave him the option to resign or they would investigate further into “the reported and admitted sex act.” 

Also, UNF maintained that Tumeo was well aware of UNF’s termination procedures since he himself was involved in the firing of two professors.  The closing arguments documents go on to say that Tumeo is also an attorney and clearly knew “that his employment was in serious jeopardy.”

UNF attorneys said Tumeo wasn’t forced to do anything; he voluntarily resigned, and while talking with the former Provost who asked him to make a decision, she never raised her voice or made any threats. The attorneys cited a number of court cases, in their rationale, but one of their stronger arguments was that Tumeo himself told UNFPD’s Chief Frank Mackesy that he deserved to be fired, and later in a text to former President Delaney that he didn’t want to work at UNF any longer.  In addition, UNF maintains Tumeo did not follow UNF’s grievance procedure in the allotted time (30 days after his resignation).

Meanwhile, Tumeo’s attorney says he was not aware the grievance procedure applied to him– since Chally told him he “serves at the pleasure of the provost.” 

His attorneys go on to say in the end he did file a proper grievance that started with a letter to UNF on October 17.  

Tumeo said in the three minutes he was permitted to resign, he was not allowed counsel. He had to make an “immediate decision.”  Tumeo’s attorney maintains UNF forced the dean out– preventing him not only from having legal counsel, but the right to appeal.  

Judge Kevin Blazs is expected to rule any day now. 

Spinnaker will keep you updated as more information unfolds.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected]