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'Toxic' Professor Won't Be Teaching Next Semester

November 15, 2019
 
 

Akbar Sayeed, a professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, won’t return to the classroom next semester, according to the Wisconsin State-Journal, if he returns to campus at all following his two-year suspension for creating a “toxic” environment for students in his lab. Sayeed has previously indicated that he intends to return to Madison, and the university has said it will more closely monitor his teaching and interactions with students when that happens. This week, however, following recent reports about the 2016 suicide of John Brady, one of Sayeed’s graduate students, the university said that Sayeed has been reassigned to unspecified administrative duties in the engineering dean’s office.

“This assignment will remain in place until the department chair, the provost and I are satisfied that adequate measures are in place to provide oversight of the faculty member as a teacher, mentor and research adviser, as well as to prevent potential harm to students,” Ian Robertson, dean of engineering, wrote in a message to students and faculty and staff members. Sayeed has not commented publicly on Madison's findings against him, including that he engaged in hostile and intimidating behavior.

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