COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A top Ohio State University cancer researcher is being forced to stepped down from his prestigious department chair. His attorney says, the university won’t explain why.
Carlo Croce says he’s feeling blindsided after he was told to step down as a department chair in OSU's College of Medicine.
"He told the dean he was not going to step down,” said Croce’s attorney, James Arnold. "He asked for a reason. He wasn't given any."
Croce is in his second year of his current term as department chair. However, he's held the position since he came to OSU more than a decade ago.
"The dean then called a meeting on November 20, invited all of the faculty, while Dr. Croce was out of town, and informed them a new chair was going to be appointed effective January 1,” said Arnold.
Arnold said the dean told Dr. Croce to step down before the meeting. Croce refused, and according to Arnold, was never given a reason.
"The faculty asked for a reason on multiple occasions during the meeting with dean on November 20 and they declined to give any reason whatsoever for the change,” said Arnold.
According to Ohio Administrative Code, the president or designee can remove a chair during their term after consolation with the voting faculty and dean. Ohio State told ABC6/FOX28, they followed standard procedure.
"Faculty members confirmed for me that they weren't consulted,” said Arnold. “Now, there are a lot of faculty. I don't know how many may have been consulted."
Croce was recently caught up in controversy involving a major news outlet. Dr. Croce sued the New York Times for defamation after an article accused him of research misconduct. In November, most of the lawsuit was dismissed.
Could the lawsuit be a factor? The university won't say.
"At a minimum, the university owes Dr. Croce a reason,” said Arnold. “I can't see any benefit for not telling him or any of the other faculty."