Open records requests reveal dental college received equipment donations from polarizing adjunct professor Kirk Kimmerling

Graphic by Emily Garcia

In the aftermath of Dr. Kirk Kimmerling’s email to the students and faculty at Augusta University’s Dental College of Georgia calling the “White Coats 4 Black Lives” protest “disgraceful,” AU officials sent numerous emails to students, the media and each other to try and mitigate the damage.

Emails obtained via Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) request show Carol Lefebvre, dean of the dental college at AU, and others raised concerns about whether this was an inappropriate use of an university email and if his AUGUSTA.edu email address could be eliminated.

However, AU has declined to comment as to whether or not his email address was indeed eliminated.

The dental college dean also sent out various emails to Dr. Kimmerling’s connections within the college immediately following the incident. 

Dr. Kimmerling is the founder of a company called Fitebac Technology. 

Dr. Kimmerling’s company was, “built through the efforts of academia researchers throughout the world,” according to Fitebac’s website.

A few of Fitebac’s researchers are also employed at AU.

According to emails sent by Lefebvre, Dr. Kimmerling was scheduled to visit AU on the same day and meet with several university officials. This invitation was also extended to Lefebvre a few days prior to the email, who declined due to a prior engagement.

AU would not comment on whether or not the meeting took place.

Dental college and AU leadership also received multiple emails from concerned students and alumni asking why Dr. Kimmerling was not being immediately punished by dental college leadership for his actions.

Vice President of Communications Christen Engel informed the Bell Ringer in a prior inquiry that, “adjunct faculty work on a volunteer basis and are not employees of the university.”

Therefore, Dr. Kimmerling could not be terminated as though he were an employee.

However, emails following the incident show that Lefebvre and Kevin Frazier, vice dean of AU’s dental college, looked into the contractual agreement for volunteer adjunct faculty.

Frazier shared with Lefebvre a clause from the agreement that stated, “I agree that, as a volunteer, I will not be an Augusta University employee. I understand and agree that Augusta University and I both have the right to end my volunteer relationship with Augusta University at any time, for any reason, and without advance notice.”

AU declined to comment on whether or not they acted on this clause.

The BellRinger contacted AU immediately following Dr. Kimmerling’s email to request information about his donations to the dental college.

After six days The BellRinger was told AU could not comment on donor items or personnel questions.

However, the answers to The BellRinger’s questions were found in an email sent from Engel to Vice President of Operations Karla Leeper.

  1. Has Kirk Kimmerling ever donated equipment to the university or any of it’s colleges?

“Yes, the Dental College of Georgia.”

2. Which Departments has Kirk Kimmerling donated equipment to?

“Clinical and research equipment has been donated to the Department of Endodontics, Periodontics, Orthodontics, Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences (clinical and research equipment). In addition, he donated supplies to the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program (residency program).”

AU declined to comment on whether or not Dr. Kimmerling’s donations impacted any punitive actions dental college leadership may have taken against him.

AU’s list of part-time faculty on the department of endodontics still lists Dr. Kimmerling’s name.

Dr. Kimmerling did not respond to attempts to be contacted.

This article originally appeared on the Bell Ringer’s website: https://aubellringer.wordpress.com/2020/07/23/open-records-requests-reveal-aus-dental-college-received-numerous-equipment-donations-from-polarizing-adjunct-professor-dr-kirk-kimmerling/

Published by Emily G. Garcia

Enterprise Reporter at The Red & Black

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