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Suspended professor reinstated

A biology professor who was suspended and almost fired for having a hallucinogenic-producing plant in a university greenhouse has been fully reinstated.

Professors Daniel Gladish and John Cinnamon faced disciplinary action for their roles in the cultivation of an Iboga plant last year. The Iboga plant is an African tree with roots that can be used to produce a hallucinogenic drug. 

Cinnomon allegedly brought Iboga seeds back to Miami University from a trip to Africa. Gladish, director of  Miami's Hamilton campus conservatory, grew the plant to study it. Miami’s American Association of University Professors (AAUP) advocacy chapter protested the severity of the punishment and shortly after created a petition that garnered thousands of signatures internationally.

Cinnamon has been on medical leave since the start of the disciplinary process and has had no hearings, said Claire Wagner, director of university news and communications.

Gladish was suspended with pay but never lost his title. 

Following hearings that took place throughout the fall of 2019, Gladish signed a resolution agreement to cease termination procedures against him and return to his position as a professor of biology and biological sciences on Wednesday, Jan. 29. This includes the reinstatement of his tenure, Miami’s AAUP chapter president, Cathy Wagner, said. 

“We are thrilled that justice has prevailed, at least in this part of the case,” Cathy Wagner said.

Though Gladish was able to return to work as a professor, he did have to give up his position as director of the conservatory. And, as part of the agreement, Gladish also tendered a letter of resignation effective Jan. 1, 2024.

Gladish said he was surprised by this latter condition since he was already considering retiring relatively soon, but that he ultimately found the resolution to be fair.

“It was a compromise on both sides,” he said. “It was a legal settlement.”

Gladish also received a Presidential Letter of Reprimand, a formal censure signed by President Greg Crawford that will be permanently added to Gladish’s personnel file.

“As a Schedule I controlled substance, the Iboga plant cannot be possessed or researched without obtaining the required permits and licenses,” Crawford wrote in the letter.

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Gladish, who did not have the proper documentation to possess or study the plant, was in direct violation of this rule. The university acknowledged no research was ever performed on the Iboga plant by Gladish or any other person, said Claire Wagner.

Gladish was also reprimanded for not restricting access to the Iboga tree, which allowed a student last year to take an Iboga seedling home, who allegedly claimed they would use it to get high. 

“Your policy and practice of permitting student workers to access seedlings of plants fails to adequately address the risk to those students or others who come into contact with plants containing dangerous substances,” Crawford wrote.

Gladish said AAUP was very supportive and helpful to him throughout the process and expressed gratitude to them.

“I am very happy to be able to return to doing what I thought was my calling in life,” Gladish said. “I am very thankful for that and happy that that was the outcome.”