Abdul S. Rao Associate Vice President at the University of South Florida Resigns – Choices and Consequences

Every choice has a consequence.  For whatever reason, a Vice-President who helped steal a student bicycle resigned.  His choice cost him his job.

Here’s the story from The Chronicle of High Education:

Just days after someone posted security-camera footage to YouTube that showed an associate vice president at the University of South Florida helping someone steal a bicycle, the administrator, Abdul S. Rao, is resigning.

Stephen K. Klasko, dean of the university’s medical school, announced at a faculty meeting last night that Dr. Rao would step down effective this Friday. Dr. Rao, senior associate vice president for research in the university’s health division, admitted that he had helped a day laborer take a bicycle parked at a loading dock behind the university’s Byrd Institute.

He said in a statement that a “lapse of judgment” led him to give permission to a “nearly homeless man” to use the bike, which a student later reported stolen. “I have no excuse,” Dr. Rao said in the statement. “I can only say that my intention was never to bring harm, alarm, or disruption to anyone.”

The student whose bike was stolen asked the police for the security-camera footage, which the student then placed on a server that others could see, according to press accounts. Someone then posted the footage to YouTube, where it received thousands of views before it was removed because of an unspecified violation of the video-sharing site’s terms of service. Michael J. Hoad, a vice president for communications at the university, said in an interview that the leaking of the video was “a minor secondary issue” that the university had no plans to investigate.

What was Dr. Rao thinking?  Did he have such compassion for a homeless person that he lost his sense of ethics?  Often in an electronic age the assumption is out of sight out of mind.  However, not much today is out of sight – especially with internet services like YouTube.

From an ethical perspective – do you feel that Dr. Rao should have resigned?  Will the good work that Dr. Rao be lost due to a lapse of his ethical choices.

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8 Responses to Abdul S. Rao Associate Vice President at the University of South Florida Resigns – Choices and Consequences

  1. john hote says:

    Absolutely not, there was no need for a resignation. Dr. Rao handled this perfectley and this is his first and only criminal offense. This event cannot over shadow the fact that he tripled USF’s funding for research and opened multiple new fields of research at the school. It is unethical for the media to pursue this further, the bike was considered by Rao to be abondoned and once he discovered that wasn’t the case he returned it. The lapse of ethics occured when Boyd stole this video and uploaded it on YouTube without permission from Rao.

  2. Several questions then arise from your comment:

    1. How long had the bike been at its location in order for Rao to think it had been abandoned?

    2. How often does one find a bike that is chained that is abandoned?

    3. Should the University have taken a different position rather than accepting Dr. Rao’s resignation?

    4. Do you feel that his contribution will be overshadowed by his choice in this matter?

    5. Does Dr. Rao have any right to the surveillance tape that was recorded by the University?

    6. Did the Student have the right upon receipt of the tape to expose it to YouTube?

  3. john hote says:

    thankyou for taking a non biased approach to this chuck. Allow me to answer the above questions:
    1) all universities have abondoned bikes, the bikes in that loading dock seem to always have been left there.
    2) there is no proof that the bike was chained, and wen watching the video that particular bike was moved in a matter of seconds. A chained bike wud have taken much longer to move. Also if his aim was to steal, why not take the other bikes there as well?
    3) The university acted much to quickly. A fine would have been more than sufficient. Or even non paid leave until the investigation was completed.
    4) mayb now, but a year down the road when usf needs something done, they will have Boone to turn to.
    5)dr. Rao does have rights to the video, he is in it and didn’t sign it’s rights away.
    6) no the student did not, YouTube specifically warns posters of content to ensure they have the right to broadcast that material. That includes consent from the people in the videos.

    Thanks for your interest hope this helps.

  4. John…as you may see from another post today, Dr. Rao rescinded his resignation. It will be interesting to see what position the University takes.

    https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/update-abdul-s-rao-requests-resignation-be-rescinded-choices-and-consequences/

  5. truthaboutusf says:

    Dear John Hote, During Rao’s chaotic dictatorship extramural funding dropped like a rock and his self support and support towards his cronies increased by 1000%. Faculty who can leave has already left. The 3x increase is a typical lie that Rao pulls out but he is so stupid that does not remember when and what he was saying. The Moffitt Cancer Center was completely alienated by this guy so their funding, friendship and reputation of USF HEALTH was lost. Hote, your last name is Rao or you are one of the overpaid secretaries of Rao!

  6. John Hote says:

    truthaboutusf, nothing you said can be backed by any data. The facts are this: in 2004 NIH funding was at $34 million, this most recent year $89 million. Moffitt was not alienated they were bought out by UF, the states flagship university with much more money than USF due to the order Florida must spread its educational budget in. truthaboutusf I really do hope you are not planning to stay at USF, without Rao its a slippery slope get yourself out while you can. Were you fired by Rao for your terrible performance or is there another reason for your vendetta against him?

  7. truthaboutusf2 says:

    Dear John Hote,
    This is what struck me while I read your posts. Obviously you either don’t work for USF Health, are a buddy of Rao’s or you’re Rao himself because NO ONE at USF Health would actually believe that BS. It is common knowledge around the college about Rao’s lack of credentials (not actually a MD), lies, theft of departmental funds, lack of grants, etc. Many staff and faculty were too afraid of their jobs to say anything but thankfully through this bike incident, the whole world saw Rao for what he really was. I don’t have a personal vendetta against him as you claim to others above, in fact, we knew each other and worked together on peaceful terms. The truth is that the student’s bike who was stolen (was NOT abandoned) is the small part. It was the fact that he also threatened the student with his degree and funding if he said anything (I know the student personally as well). He was not some young punk graduate student but an older well respected graduate researcher in the college. This is ethical in your books? To threaten people who don’t want to cover up your “lapses in judgement”. That video was posted by MANY people and was going to continue to get posted until someone outside this university took notice. There have been departments whose entire accounts have been emptied out by Rao. Money was always being taken out of accounts and disappearing. Again, anyone who actually works here knows this is fact and is celebrating that his “reign” has ended. Perhaps now the College can get back to business and try to pull itself out of the slump that this idiot put us in. There are many hardworking researchers, faculty, staff and students at USF College of Medicine and thank god, this man no longer represents us.

  8. truthaboutusf2 says:

    By the way, I am not the original truthaboutusf. I just know the truth about usf too.

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