Rao review committee talks to students involved in case

University administrators continue to conduct their review of the case concerning Dr. Abdul Rao, even though they cannot penalize him. Their review includes talking to the students who were affected by the case.

Paula Knaus, associate dean for faculty and staff affairs in the College of Public Health, said the administration continued the review despite Rao’s resignation because they wanted to follow through with the case.

“We felt like we needed to complete it,” she said. “We wanted to prepare a written report.”

On Feb. 9, Rao was seen on video with another man, Victor Waiters, taking a bike from the loading dock of the Byrd Institute. The bike belonged to Tim Boyd, a doctoral student. He lent it to Christine Dillingham, a senior, who regularly parked the bike in the loading dock.

Boyd and Dillingham attended the administrators’ meeting Tuesday, but could not say comment on it. An attorney, Jason Bavol, now represents them.

USF spokesman Michael Hoad said it is unclear whether the settlement contract was binding and under what conditions Rao could rescind the resignation.

“That is going to be the point on which a lot of legal arguments will turn,” he said.

The agreement  Rao signed stated that he “voluntarily and irrevocably resign all  
employment positions.”

Hoad said that if Rao decided to take legal action, the University would argue that Rao did not have the right to rescind. To counter, Rao would claim he did have that right.  However, the contract obliges Rao to refrain from pursuing legal action.

“Dr. Rao hereby represents that he has not and will not file any additional charges, complaints, or lawsuits against the (Florida Board of Governors, the University of South Florida, and their affiliates),” it stated.

Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said that her office is still reviewing the case.