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After a Week of Protest, U. of Utah Cancer Researcher Is Reinstated

A week after the University of Utah announced that the chief executive and director of its Huntsman Cancer Institute was leaving her post, she’s been reinstated.

In a written statement, the university’s president, David W. Pershing, confirmed the decision to keep Mary Beckerle.

“Effective today we have changed HCI’s reporting structure, and Dr. Beckerle will report directly to the president of the university,” the statement said. “I am grateful for her committed leadership and look forward to working with her in the coming years.”

Last week’s announcement of her leaving resulted in an angry backlash from faculty members. Along with an online petition with thousands of signatures demanding that the Board of Trustees reinstate her, about 100 students, faculty members, and patients marched to Mr. Pershing’s office to protest, according to Deseret News.

Vivian Lee, senior vice president for health sciences at the university, made the unexpected announcement of Ms. Beckerle’s departure without explanation on April 17. Angry faculty members were heard chanting “Vivian Lee has got to go” at a meeting the following day.

The petition stated: “We sign to voice our objection to this decision and the manner in which it was carried out.”

Jon Huntsman Sr., the institute’s main benefactor, criticized Mr. Pershing and Ms. Lee for their decision, telling local news media that the president “should have been let go a long time ago” and that Ms. Lee is “completely unethical and untrustworthy.” He also threatened to sue and to hold back a $250-million donation to the institute.

After the announcement that Ms. Beckerle would be reinstated, Mr. Huntsman told The Salt Lake Tribune that he was “delighted.”

He had previously said that her reinstatement would not be enough to resolve the conflict, the newspaper reported, and that he would seek to have Ms. Lee removed from management of the institute.

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