University of Utah trustees vote to reinstate Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO

Trustees of the University of Utah voted Tuesday morning to reinstate Mary Beckerle, PhD, as CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, according to STAT. The vote came in response to outrage among faculty of the university and institute upon Dr. Beckerle's abrupt dismissal last week.

Dr. Beckerle, who had served as CEO of the institute since 2006, told The Salt Lake Tribune last week she was informed via email she was let go from her role April 17 with no explanation why. Many faculty vocally opposed Dr. Beckerle's termination and protested the decision. They also signed an online petition calling for her reinstatement. The petition had 1,600 signatures as of April 19.

After a trustees meeting this morning, David Pershing, PhD, president of the University of Utah, issued a statement saying Dr. Beckerle is reinstated, "effective immediately," according to STAT

"This past week has been an extraordinary and challenging time for our university and community," read the statement, according to the report. "Members of our campus community spoke out and made their perspectives known. It is now time, I believe, to return to our mission of serving our students, caring for our patients and pursuing critical research."

The dispute over Dr. Beckerle's abrupt firing pitted Jon Huntsman Sr., a billionaire philanthropist who helped found the institute, against Dr. Pershing and Vivian Lee, MD, PhD, CEO of University of Utah Health Care. He threatened to file "many lawsuits" in response to what he called a "power grab" by the university leaders, and also called the decision "pathetic," according to STAT. Mr. Huntsman, whose family owns The Salt Lake City Tribune, took out a full-page ad in two local newspapers to protest her firing. The Tribune also published an editorial calling for Dr. Lee to be let go.

Dr. Lee reportedly left the meeting Tuesday morning without speaking to reporters.

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