After almost four months of investigation, Samuel Bradley has been removed from the directorship of the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications following an independent investigation.
The investigation covered how Bradley was hired by USF, questioning if proper procedure associated with background and reference checks was followed, which the report determined was not the case.
The school is also beginning steps to remove Bradley’s tenure at the university.
The report was put together by Thomas Gonzalez of Thompson, Sizemore, Gonzalez & Hearing, P.A., a third party Tampa law firm.
Gonzalez concluded that in the rush to find a new director, the university did not follow proper hiring procedures. Findings included a lack of reference checks on Bradley for a position he had not directly applied.
Gonzalez also said Bradley provided false information to USF during his hiring process.
“Bradley … provided false and material information which the University relied in making its offer of employment,” Gonzalez wrote in his report. “That the University did not follow its hiring procedures does not in any way ameliorate the seriousness of that violation.”
Bradley came into the spotlight after a report from his former employer, Texas Tech University, revealed several inappropriate- — and often sexual — relationships with at least four students during his employment there.
Bradley received a university notice of Intent to Terminate for Just Cause on June 17, to which Bradley replied, feeling that his termination was not on sufficient grounds and that he felt Gonzalez’s report contained factual errors and omissions he considered key.
“In summary, I have always been a loyal and dedicated servant to USF and I remain so, and I believe that I deserve to remain a tenured associate professor,” Bradley wrote in his reply to Eisenberg. “I look forward to the opportunity to provide full evidence of such.”
However, Bradley received his official notice of termination for just cause Wednesday, removing him from the position, in which Eisenberg stated Bradley’s response had been reviewed but the action to terminate his employment at USF will continue forward.
In the meantime after Bradley’s removal, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Eric Eisenberg said the university is looking towards continuing its programs and making significant changes to its current hiring practices.
“The Zimmerman School will continue to offer extraordinary programs, dedicated to preparing students for productive careers in the advertising and mass communications industry,” Eisenberg said in an official statement. “In addition, a new USF System-wide policy is being implemented that will require more steps are taken to check references with all employee hires.”
The hiring practices of the university were tweaked slightly by Provost Ralph Wilcox back in May via a memo, changes Eisenberg said then that he felt were related to Bradley’s case.
The national search to replace Bradley is said to start immediately, according to a statement made by Eisenberg.