USC faced a choice five years ago: Keep Dr. Carmen Puliafito at the helm of the Keck School of Medicine or replace him.
As dean, Puliafito had brought in star researchers, raised hundreds of millions of dollars and boosted the school’s national ranking — all critical steps in USC’s plan to become an elite research institution.
But what might have been an easy decision to renew his appointment was complicated by a groundswell of opposition from the medical school’s faculty and staff.
Keck employees had complained repeatedly about what they considered Puliafito’s hair-trigger temper, public humiliation of colleagues and perceived drinking problem, and many were adamant he be removed, according to current and former university employees as well as four letters of complaint reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.
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