Carlo Croce, the embattled cancer researcher at The Ohio State University (OSU), is suing the institution to reclaim the department chair he lost late last year for reasons that he says are unclear.
In a filing with the Franklin County civil court, Croce and his attorneys, from the Columbus firm of James E. Arnold and Associates, argue that the university failed to follow its own rules for demoting faculty members last year when it stripped Croce of his position of chair of the Department of Cancer Genetics and Biology. Croce had held the post for more than three consecutive four-year terms, starting in October 2004.
The nut of Croce’s claim centers on the alleged failure of K. Craig Kent, the university’s Dean of the College of Medicine, to consult with the college’s faculty members before demoting him in early November 2018 — a move Croce opposed.
The court documents cite a letter containing objections from Croce’s colleagues over the handling of his case. That letter, signed by members of his department, appears to support Croce’s claim that Kent failed to consult them before he acted against Croce. The letter also notes that under Croce’s leadership, the department has become “a flagship” for basic research at Ohio State, receiving the “highest per capita funding” on campus. And it calls Croce “one of the most prominent scientists” at the institution.
Croce has faced misconduct allegations — reported in March 2017 by The New York Times, whom Croce sued two months later for defamation, in a case that he dropped after most of it was thrown out, so that he could appeal it to a higher court — for years. He has now had nine papers retracted, and more than a dozen papers corrected or subject to an expression of concern.
Croce is demanding that the university reinstate him to his chairmanship immediately and then submit the matter to the faculty, as specified in the school’s bylaws, according to the court documents.
OSU was not able to respond to our request for comment by deadline.
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