USC needs to be moving full steam ahead on new leadership capable of governing the university with accountability, transparency and ethics.
Mellon Research Fellow at @Occidental. Co-creator of Scalar (@anvcscalar). Senior Researcher at @stillwaternet. A third of the @BachelorMasters podcast.
The decision followed a call from students, faculty and alumni for his resignation.
How many scandals can you muddle your way through before you get sacked?
How USC handled the case of a campus gynecologist allowed to practice for years despite complaints of misconduct has sparked outrage and demands for change in the university’s leadership and management culture. To some, it is part of a troubling pattern.
If I were a journalist, I would just start tracking people leaving posts and then dig into what the scandal must surely be. USC is definitely stinking from the head and needs to begin digging itself out of an ever-deepening hole.
I’ve been so busy in the last month, I had to do a double-take at the word ANOTHER!
The statement USC released seems highly disingenuous and inconsistent to me.
“As you may have heard, today Dr. Rohit Varma resigned as dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC,” the school’s provost, Michael Quick, wrote in a message to the community.
“I understand how upsetting this situation is to all of us, but we felt it was in the best interest of the faculty, staff, and students for all of us to move in this direction. Today we learned previously undisclosed information that caused us to lose confidence in Dr. Varma’s ability to lead the school. Our leaders must be held to the highest standards. Dr. Varma understands this, and chose to step down.”
First they say Varma resigned as dean which makes it seem as if he’s stepping aside of his own accord when the next paragraph indicates that the University leadership has lost confidence in him and forced him out. So which is it? He resigned or was fired?
Secondly they mentioned “undisclosed information”. This is painful because the so-called undisclosed information was something that USC was not only aware of, but actually paid off a person involved to the tune of more than $100,000!
USC paid her more than $100,000 and temporarily blocked Varma from becoming a full member of the faculty, according to the records and interviews.
“The behavior you exhibited is inappropriate and unacceptable in the workplace, reflects poor judgment, is contrary to the University’s standards of conduct, and will not be tolerated at the University of Southern California,” a USC official wrote in a 2003 letter of reprimand.”
Even the LA Times reports: “The sexual harassment allegation is well known in the upper echelons of the university, but not among many of the students and staff.” How exactly was this “undisclosed?!”
So, somehow, a person who was formally reprimanded years ago (and whose reprimands were later greatly lessened by the way) was somehow accidentally promoted to dean of an already embattled division of the university?? I’m not really sure how he even maintained his position after the original incident much less subsequently promoted and allowed to continue on to eventually be appointed dean years later. Most shocking, there was no mention of his other positions at USC. I take this to mean that he’s still on the faculty, he’s still on staff at the hospital, and he’s still got all the rights and benefits of his previous positions at the University? I sincerely hope that he learned his lesson in 2003, but suspect that he didn’t, and if this is the case and others come forward, he will be summarily dispatched. For the University’s sake, I further hope they’re looking into it internally with a fine-toothed comb before they’re outed again by the Los Angeles Times reporting staff who seem to have a far higher level of morality than the USC leadership over the past several years.
During a month which has seen an inordinate amount of sexual harassment backlash, I’m shocked that USC has done so very little and has only acted (far too long after-the-fact) to sweep this all under the rug.
Former U.S. Attorney will investigate drug allegations involving former USC medical school dean
I was getting concerned that I hadn’t heard back from Sol for a while, particularly after emailing him late last week, and then I ran across this notice through ITSOC & the IEEE:
Solomon W. Golomb (May 30, 1932 – May 1, 2016)
Shannon Award winner and long-time ITSOC member Solomon W. Golomb passed away on May 1, 2016.
Solomon W. Golomb was the Andrew Viterbi Chair in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and was at USC since 1963, rising to the rank of University and Distinguished Professor. He was a member of the National Academies of Engineering and Science, and was awarded the National Medal of Science, the Shannon Award, the Hamming Medal, and numerous other accolades. As USC Dean Yiannis C. Yortsos wrote, “With unparalleled scholarly contributions and distinction to the field of engineering and mathematics, Sol’s impact has been extraordinary, transformative and impossible to measure. His academic and scholarly work on the theory of communications built the pillars upon which our modern technological life rests.”
In addition to his many contributions to coding and information theory, Professor Golomb was one of the great innovators in recreational mathematics, contributing many articles to Scientific American and other publications. More recent Information Theory Society members may be most familiar with his mathematics puzzles that appeared in the Society Newsletter, which will publish a full remembrance later.
A quick search a moment later revealed this sad confirmation along with some great photos from an award Sol received just a week ago:
— Yannis C. Yortsos (@DeanYortsos) May 2, 2016
— Yannis C. Yortsos (@DeanYortsos) April 22, 2016
— Yannis C. Yortsos (@DeanYortsos) April 21, 2016
As is common in academia, I’m sure it will take a few days for the news to drip out, but the world has certainly lost one of its greatest thinkers, and many of us have lost a dear friend, colleague, and mentor.
I’ll try touch base with his family and pass along what information sniff I can. I’ll post forthcoming obituaries as I see them, and will surely post some additional thoughts and reminiscences of my own in the coming days.
“ALOHA to the Web”
Dr. Norman Abramson, Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Hughes Electrical Engineering Center (EEB)
Reception 3:00pm (EEB Courtyard)
Lecture 4:00pm (EEB 132)
Wireless access to the Internet today is provided predominantly by random access ALOHA channels connecting a wide variety of user devices. ALOHA channels were first analyzed, implemented and demonstrated in the ALOHA network at the University of Hawaii in June, 1971. Information Theory has provided a constant guide for the design of more efficient channels and network architectures for ALOHA access to the web.
In this talk we examine the architecture of networks using ALOHA channels and the statistics of traffic within these channels. That traffic is composed of user and app oriented information augmented by protocol information inserted for the benefit of network operation. A simple application of basic Information Theory can provide a surprising guide to the amount of protocol information required for typical web applications.
We contrast this theoretical guide of the amount of protocol information required with measurements of protocol generated information taken on real network traffic. Wireless access to the web is not as efficient as you might guess.
Norman Abramson received an A.B. in physics from Harvard College in 1953, an M.A. in physics from UCLA in 1955, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford in 1958.
He was an assistant professor and associate professor of electrical engineering at Stanford from 1958 to 1965. From 1967 to 1995 he was Professor of Electrical Engineering, Professor of Information and Computer Science, Chairman of the Department of Information and Computer Science, and Director of the ALOHA System at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He is now Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at the University of Hawaii. He has held visiting appointments at Berkeley (1965), Harvard (1966) and MIT (1980).
Abramson is the recipient of several major awards for his work on random access channels and the ALOHA Network, the first wireless data network. The ALOHA Network went into operation in Hawaii in June, 1971. Among these awards are the Eduard Rhein Foundation Technology Award (Munich, 2000), the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (Philadelphia, 2007) and the NEC C&C Foundation Award (Tokyo, 2011).