Group protests sudden firing of Huntsman Cancer Institute director

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  • KJR Sequim, WA
    April 20, 2017 10:04 p.m.

    Whether or not there is anything behind this other than PTA politics with PhDs, the facts that (i) the incumbent director was terminated by email while on vacation; (ii) there was no consultation with major contributors; and most of all (iii) they didn't anticipate the PR and financial disaster that would ensue are enough to show that Pershing and Lee are not qualified for any executive position. You didn't see this coming? Really? If you didn't you are unqualified for leadership. And if you did -- and went ahead anyway -- you are even more unqualified for leadership. If there is a good reason for termination at this level (for performance or political reasons) you call the person in for a face to face, discuss it, and -- if appropriate -- let the person resign. This is a taxpayer supported institution and all the protestations about "protecting" people are irresponsible at best.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    April 20, 2017 9:00 a.m.

    I haven't any idea why my prior comment seems to have been censored. The gist of my comment was totally valid. It is very unprofessional to discharge anyone via email. If you cannot do it face-to-face, then you ought not be a manager of people. Also, normally, a firing at this level of professional responsibility is not performance-based, but nearly always a clash of personalities.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    April 19, 2017 10:05 p.m.

    Imagine U don't know how to run things.

  • Church Family Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2017 9:50 p.m.

    Our family has been a long-time financial supporter of the Huntsman Cancer Institute and personally holding a multi-year seat on the advisory board. Our involvement has provided us the opportunity to get to know Dr Beckerle first hand. She is an outstandingly capable woman who has done so much for HCI and the U. We are shocked by this news and cannot comprehend what might have led to her dismissal. Mr Pershing and Ms Lee have some explaining to do or very critical support will erode quickly. Your silence and lack of explanation will cause irrepairable harm to an institution that provides the U with international acclaim. Get smart quickly! We offer our support to all future protests in this regard.

  • Grumpy Grandpa Sandy, UT
    April 19, 2017 5:11 p.m.

    Although we all want to know "what" precipitated this departure, we will probably never know for sure. Unless we have access to Dr. Beckerle's performance reviews from her personnel file we will remain in the dark.

    The dismissal may be due to politics. It may be because of a "changing of the guard", due to performance, or failure to satisfy some fiduciary obligation.

    There is more going on than we realize. There are many laws restricting not only the dismissal of any employee but also discussion as to why the dismissal occurred. For Dr Welm, Jon Huntsman, or any protester to demand to know why is as inappropriate as anyone demanding to see the details of their own performance reviews and personnel files.

    I've been on both sides of the dismissal process and understand the position of "silence" required by the university. We can conjecture and gossip forever, but unless a court order forces disclosure of the reason, we cannot know.

    I'm grumpy because I was told to stop spoiling the grandkids.

  • daneng Sandy, UT
    April 19, 2017 4:58 p.m.

    If there are legitimate reasons for her dismissal, they should have been handled in a professional manner, rather than through email while she was on vacation. This is the kind conduct that you might expect from an organization that is naÏve to the do's and don'ts of corporate employee interactions, rather than one of the largest public institutions in the state.

    Though the Huntsman family has no ownership in the HCI they are nevertheless invested in its history and its future. Professional courtesy and respect for the family that brought this marvelous institution into being and concern with the state of mind of one of its very largest donors should have dictated that the U's top leaders demonstrate good leadership. Regrettably, It doesn't appear that they did.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    April 19, 2017 4:34 p.m.

    For Pershing to think he can box out Jon Huntsman and his $2 BILLION contribution is incredible. There must be more to it than that.

    Huntsman says he has been paying some of the bills the U has contracted to pay just to keep the lights on. And Jon is very interested in finding sustainable sources for clinic operations after he is gone. He's even expressed the notion that he'd support democrats who would pony up.

    Maybe this is a clear signal that running the clinic is more than the U can manage going forward.

    Or maybe Pershing is ready to move on.

    But this very public battle is ugly and Pershing and Lee are the two left standing.

    Burton and the Trustees are strangely mute.

    University politics usually isn't this high-stakes.