University of Wisconsin Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Akbar Sayeed will resign August 1 more than four years after doctoral student John Brady committed suicide following work in his lab.
UW suspended Sayeed in 2018. He left with a two-year unpaid leave before he returned to campus in 2020. During his suspension from UW, he landed a job working at the National Science Foundation, from which he was fired after UW informed them about his past actions.
UW professor to return January 2020 after investigation into ‘toxic’ lab conditionsUniversity of Wisconsin professor Akbar Sayeed is expected to return in January 2020 after a two-year unpaid leave due to Read…
According to a university report, former students described Sayeed’s lab environment as “toxic” and “abusive.”
Brady documented Sayeed’s behavior and recorded Sayeed screaming at and berating students in the lab. Brady’s father concluded after looking through text messages, emails, search history and other digital files that the lab environment played a central role in Brady’s suicide, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
University officials said the circumstances surrounding Brady’s suicide were an isolated and extreme incident. UW opened two investigations into Sayeed. The first investigation was conducted in 2019 and the second in 2020 after students protested his return to campus.
The 2019 investigation reported there were several gaps in oversight from the campus, which included a lack of routine procedures for evaluating the lab’s climate and not monitoring turnover.
UW opens second investigation into “toxic” engineering professorThe University of Wisconsin opened another investigation into the “toxic” environment of engineering professor Akbar Sayeed’s lab, as reported Wednesday. Read…
Doctoral student at the College of Engineering Stephen Dennison welcomed the news of Sayeed’s resignation in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal.
Dennison said organizations such as the graduate student union and the College of Engineering’s Graduate Student Association demand more transparency and better conditions for students, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The UW College of Engineering has established methods for students to confidentially request a meeting with administration and has assigned employees in different departments to observe lab turnover since Brady’s suicide, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.