Twists and turns at USC

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

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.

Alex J. Ber­liner As­so­ci­ated Press

DR. CAR­MEN A. Pu­li­afito, for­mer dean of Keck School of Medicine at USC, re­mains con­tro­ver­sial.

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