Utah professors protest cancer researcher’s sudden firing

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Staffers at the University of Utah are searching for answers after Huntsman Cancer Institute’s CEO and director was suddenly fired.

Reports say staff received an email Monday from the university’s president stating Mary Beckerle will remain a “distinguished professor in biology,” but clinical oncologist Kathleen Cooney will be the interim CEO and director.

Faculty members swiftly voiced their displeasure and launched an online petition calling for Beckerle’s reinstatement.

A meeting Tuesday to explain the move was met with protests.

University chairman, Ed Clark, told the staff gathered that the move was necessary to anticipate the department’s future needs.

Professor Bruce Edgar says the move would damage the institute’s reputation and make it difficult to draw top faculty.

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