Following the death of one of its professors, the University of Connecticut has removed a doctor from her department head position after she reportedly lost touch with Dr. Pierluigi Bigazzi.
The body of the 84-year-old doctor was found on Feb. 5 in the basement of his home on Smith Lane in Burlington.
Dr. Bigazzi was a longtime professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
According to court documents, UConn police said he had not been seen or heard from since August of 2017.
During a well-being check, officers went to the Burlington home and found Dr. Bigazzi’s body in the basement, wrapped in black garbage bags and duct tape.
His wife, Linda Kosuda-Bigazzi, is being charged with murder.
Read the full arrest warrant here.
According to the internal report from UConn, for the five years before 2017, Bigazzi focused on teaching.
In 2017, Bigazzi was given an assignment by Dr. Melinda Sanders, who was the head of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, to develop materials needed for a course.
Bigazzi was expected to spend six to eight months on this project, and was told he wouldn’t need to be present on campus to complete it.
According to the report, UConn says Sanders had no contact with Bigazzi in 2017, and he did not appear on campus or respond to emails or phone calls either.
She reportedly sent him several emails since July but they were never returned.
“His payroll records indicated he had not taken any vacation time during the entirety of 2017 unlike the previous calendar year. Yet it was not until February 2018 that Dr. Sanders suspected that something was amiss. Consequently, the University continued to pay a faculty member while he was in fact deceased for a lengthy period of time,” the report says.
Sanders has been demoted and will take a pay cut.
Included in its report are some recommendations for the university and medical center to take.
UConn President Susan Herbst issued a statement saying “I agree with and accept the recommendations of this report. The department chair has been removed from her position, rightfully. No employee may be absent from work, with no communication with their supervisor, for months at a time. Communication and tight oversight are obviously fundamental to normal management. I have never seen a situation similar to this at UConn or elsewhere. That the department chair acted in such an irresponsible manner only compounds my distress over losing a fine professor so tragically. While this was an idiosyncratic and highly unusual managerial failure, the university will take steps to ensure that this never happens again.”
To read UConn's full report, click here.
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