Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UNF Paper Calls for Professor's Firing on Battery Charge, Others

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UNF Paper Calls for Professor's Firing on Battery Charge, Others

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

A University of North Florida professor is under fire from some of the school's students as he faces a misdemeanor battery charge after a contractor was attacked at the educator's Queen's Harbour home.

Tayeb Giuma, an associate professor of engineering at UNF since 1987, had a pretrial hearing Tuesday in Duval County Court. It was continued to Feb. 2. He has pleaded not guilty.

Guima, 56, was charged after a Sept. 25 Jacksonville police report said a contractor was attacked at Giuma's home in Queen's Harbour, a gated subdivision just west of the Intracoastal Waterway off of Atlantic Boulevard.

Police said contractor Dustin Brown was beaten with an 8-foot piece of lumber about noon that day. Brown, owner of All True Construction, was at Giuma's house finishing work on a gazebo the professor asked to be built. The attack followed an argument over the cost of the work, the police report says.

"I couldn't believe it was actually happening. I had known the guy for about a year," Brown said Wednesday. "It wasn't a big job; it only took us a day to do."

Brown said the cost for labor and materials amounted to $3,200, which Giuma didn't want to pay.

"The adrenaline was going, so I didn't feel it [the lumber blow]," Brown said "The next two or three days, there was a bruise and there was pain there."

Brown called for help from one of his employees, Travis Garrett.

"[Brown] wrestled him to the ground until the police were on their way. ... Dustin is not violent in any type of way," Garrett said this week.

Garrett called 911 and summoned police to the scene. When police asked Giuma what happened, he denied any attack, the report says.

But Brown told police there was a security video camera at a house next door to Giuma's home. Police looked at the hazy video, which shows a man hitting another man in the back with lumber, then arrested the professor.

Giuma did not return two messages left on his voice mail this week.

UNF has placed Giuma on administrative leave but disciplinary action should go further, according to some students.

The UNF Spinnaker, the campus student newspaper, has been aggressively covering the Giuma case and the editorial staff in November called for the professor's firing. …

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