Robert Weinreb, Cristiana Vasile, and Leah Levi
It looks like federal court will be hearing a case centered around harassment charges at the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California San Diego.
This month, Leah Levi, M.D., professor emerita in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCSD, filed a harassment suit in United States District Court against Robert Weinreb, M.D., chair and distinguished professor of the ophthalmology department. The regents of the University of California are also named in the suit.
The complaint states that Weinreb "has a personal animus toward women." The suit charges that UCSD has overlooked "Weinreb's bullying, intimidating, harassing, discriminatory, and retaliatory actions against UCSD employees." The suit charges that Weinreb "harassed, and discriminated and retaliated against [Levi] and other women in the Department of Ophthalmology."
There is one exception, according to the suit. Weinreb engaged in the alleged bullying "for the express purpose of advancing the career of Cristiana Vasile, M.D., a woman with whom he had a sexual relationship, and ultimately married, and who was and continues to be employed by UCSD under the direct and/or indirect supervision of her husband, Dr. Weinreb," according to the suit.
Weinreb mistreated women in the department, including Levi, "by bullying them, engaging in physically threatening behavior and speaking to them in a rude, hostile, and demeaning manner," charges the suit. Weinreb treats faculty males differently than he treats females, says the suit, charging that a number of whistleblower complaints have been filed against Weinreb for such activities. Weinreb targeted the residency program of which Levi was director, according to the suit. Levi was removed and replaced with a male director, according to the suit.
The suit charges that UCSD was aware of this activity but profited from its association with Weinreb.
As of this afternoon (October 30), there has been no response to Levi's allegations filed with the court. Neither UCSD nor Weinreb responded within the time frame I considered reasonable, but I will print their response — if there is one — among the comments.