Twists and turns at USC
The unfolding saga of the downfall of ex-USC medical school dean Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito has saddened, surprised and angered readers. Dozens of Times letter writers have reacted to the many angles of the developing scandal, with the weekend article detailing the history of internal complaints about Puliafito’s drinking and abusive behavior eliciting especially sharp replies. Here are a few of the responses. — Sara Lessley, letters to the editor department
Sandra Perez in Santa Maria has praise:
I can’t thank your reporters enough for so doggedly pursuing the appalling story of how USC all but ignored Puliafito’s egregious conduct while continuing to exploit his fundraising prowess.
In Culver City, Meta Valentic is direct:
I wondered how USC could keep Puliafito at the helm despite the many complaints logged about his behavior. Then, I found the answer in one short quote from former HR director James Lynch: “He’s kind of a pain in the ass, but he gets results.”
That's entitled privilege laid bare. Until USC looks at its problem with enabling people like Puliafito, they won't find any answers in this embarrassing debacle.
From Sherman Oaks, Nick Batzdorf questions The Times’ priorities:
We are living in tumultuous times with all kinds of vitally important things going on locally, nationally and internationally. It's remarkable how uninterested I am in knowing more about the crazy former dean of the USC medical school. Is it possible that running this many above-the-fold stories about this idiot is excessive?
Obser ves Nancy A. Stone from Santa Monica:
The lengths to which USC’s administrators went to bury the story speaks volumes about the university’s misplaced priorities. Obviously, money is far more important than integrity to the Trojan brand.
Cheryl Clark- O'Brien of Long Beach offers:
When I first read about the allegations against Dr. Puliafito, I thought he must be some kind of superhuman, raging with 20-yearolds by night, saving eyesight by day. Grudging respect.
Now it seems his colleagues already thought he was a bully and were concerned about his drinking. They tried to go through channels, but the doctor remained an honored employee. What a surprise.
Adds Armen Goenjian, a physician from Long Beach:
Missing in these reports was a salient feature of the narrative, that the dean was suffering from a progressive disease. The humiliating repetitive description of his inappropriate behavior adds insult to his psychological injuries, reduces the chances of his recovery and ability to find decent employment in the future.
Nancy Becklund Spencer in Glendale sees it differently:
Once again, a very good article. My anger is that he is now portrayed as a victim. The victims are the great doctors and nurses at USC and those who left.
DR. CARMEN A. Puliafito, former dean of Keck School of Medicine at USC, remains controversial.