Professors at the University of Florida initially held high expectations for Joseph Ladapo, who was being fast-tracked into a tenured professorship as part of his appointment as Florida’s surgeon general in 2021. However, their optimism quickly waned. Despite Ladapo’s impressive credentials, including a Harvard degree and previous roles at New York University and UCLA, concerns arose regarding his performance and suitability for the position.
Who is Joseph Ladapo?
Expecting Ladapo to bring substantial grant funding and conduct research in internal medicine, as outlined in his job letter, faculty members were disappointed when he fell short of these expectations. Instead, he focused on editing science research manuscripts, delivering a guest lecture for graduate students, and expressing vaccine skepticism in a memoir he authored.
Internal university emails, reports, and interviews with over two dozen current and former faculty members, state lawmakers, and former agency heads revealed concerns about Ladapo’s expedited tenured position, bypassing a crucial review process. This situation sheds light on how the University of Florida has become entangled in political agendas, with the appointment of Ladapo and other figures aligned with the goals of Governor Ron DeSantis and state Republicans.
Ladapo’s controversial stances on Covid mandates and vaccines as the state’s surgeon general have drawn national attention. He has challenged mainstream medical viewpoints, questioning the safety of certain vaccines and endorsing hydroxychloroquine, a treatment once championed by former President Donald Trump. The expedited process of Ladapo’s tenured appointment raises questions about proper candidate evaluation, contrasting with the usual lengthy and thorough selection process for tenured professorships.