RENO — The dismissal of University of Nevada, Reno professor and whistle-blower Hussein S. Hussein has been upheld by the Nevada Board of Regents.
After a 21/2-hour hearing Thursday, regents affirmed UNR President Milton Glick’s April firing of Hussein.
Hussein, who is an internationally renowned animal nutritionist, was accused of plagiarizing graduate students’ work and using a portion of research funds from 1997 to 2005 to improve his laboratory instead of giving it to the university.
Hussein, who did not attend the hearing, said the decision was “an absolute outrage” and he would challenge the board’s authority to rule on his appeal.
Hussein said he was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on animal abuse at a university’s research lab in 2004.
His complaints sparked a federal investigation in 2005 and resulted in the Department of Agriculture citing the university for 46 violations of federal animal welfare regulations from May 2004 to March 2005. The school agreed to pay an $11,400 fine.
Glick’s dismissal of Hussein ran contrary to the recommendations of a special hearing officer and a four-member faculty committee.
The hearing officer found Hussein misrepresented research funds as gifts instead of grants, preventing the university from receiving $377,000, but that his actions did not warrant being fired.
The hearing officer also found Hussein had not plagiarized students’ research.
Only one member of the faculty panel supported firing Hussein.
However, Glick defended his decision to fire the professor.
“As president, I believe there is one and only one decision appropriate in response to these actions: dismissal as a faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno,” Glick said.
The board’s decision was unanimous, with Regent Mark Alden absent and Regents Howard Rosenberg and Jason Geddes recusing themselves because of their past associations with Hussein.