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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
UWPD investigates Engineering Centers after smoke, alarms

University reports described Sayeed’s lab as “abusive.”

UW-Madison Engineering professor from 'toxic’ lab relieved of teaching duties

A tenured UW-Madison professor will be removed from teaching duties for alleged “toxic” lab environment. 

In a message to students and staff today, College of Engineering Dean Ian Robertson announced Akbar Sayeed will be moved to an administrative role. 

“This assignment will remain in place until the department chair, the provost and I are satisfied that adequate measures are in place to provide oversight of the faculty member as a teacher, mentor and research adviser, as well as to prevent potential harm to students,” Robertson said. 

John Brady, a graduate Engineering student in Sayeed’s lab for seven years, died by suicide in 2016. Last month, Brady’s father came forward stating he believes the lab environment played a role in his son’s suicide. 

According to a university report, Sayeed’s lab environment was described by students as “toxic” and “abusive,” oftentimes referring to his students as “monkeys,” “chimpanzees” and “slaves.” 

Sayeed is currently on two-year unpaid suspension ending Dec. 31. 

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