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Bruce Kone removed as College of Medicine dean

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Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 12:00 am

Dr. Bruce Kone was removed from his position as dean of UF's College of Medicine late Thursday afternoon, more than a month after his controversial decision to overrule a medical school admissions committee was made public.

Kone, who became dean in May 2007, will retain a faculty position in the department of medicine in the division of nephrology, according to a Thursday e-mail from UF President Bernie Machen and Doug Barrett, senior vice president of health affairs.

Janine Sikes, UF spokeswoman, said Kone would retain the salary he earned as dean in his faculty position.

"Dr. Machen and Dr. Barrett no longer have confidence in Dean Kone's ability to lead the College of Medicine," Sikes said.

Sikes would not comment further, saying it was an internal issue.Tom Fortner, Health Science Center spokesman, said he has not heard whether Kone plans to stay as a member of the faculty.

Dr. Michael Good, formerly the college's senior associate dean for clinical affairs, has been appointed acting dean with the expectation that an interim dean will be named after discussions with faculty members, stated the e-mail.

Good, an anesthesiologist, joined the faculty in 1988.

Calls and e-mails to Kone and Good were unreturned or forwarded to UF representatives.

Good was a candidate for the dean position during the spring 2007 search, Fortner said.

He said Good's appointment would probably last a month until an interim dean is appointed. Once the interim dean is found, the search for a permanent dean will begin, Fortner said.

Kone came under fire in early April when it was revealed he admitted a student that the college's admissions committee rejected.

Sikes would not say for sure if the decision to remove Kone from his position was related to the admissions scandal.

"It is no one incident," she said.

On April 4, Kone met with UF officials to discuss his decision to admit Benjamin Mendelsohn, the son of a wealthy Republican contributor who had not taken the MCAT.

After the meeting, Kone sent a critical e-mail to the officials, including Machen and Barrett, in response to their "pathetic" reaction to the uproar.

"It's a small town. There are small minds," he wrote. "But for crap's sakes, and speaking strictly as an alumnus, wake up. You are talented. Start leading."

On May 6, Kone apologized for his "hurtful e-mail" at a College of Medicine Faculty Council meeting. He sent out another e-mail that night that summed up his apology.

"It was disrespectful and demeaning to our leaders, our University, and our community, and it was just plain wrong," he wrote.

In the same e-mail, he revealed some of Mendelsohn's qualifications that had not appeared in media reports, including an "exceptional" record of civic and health policy leadership and involvement in Northwestern University's Honors Program in Medical Education, which does not require an MCAT.

"He meets the high academic standards we have set for our medical students, and he is every bit as qualified as our Junior Honors students who are so successful when they move on to our medical school," he wrote.

Because the leak of Mendelsohn's name to the media may have violated federal privacy laws, it sparked a UF investigation of e-mails from members of the admissions committee, some of which included students.

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