U of A Denies "Political Pressure" Played Role in Firing of Dr. Sue Sisley

The University of Arizona isn't saying much about the firing of medical-marijuana researcher Sue Sisley, but officials deny any political motivations.

In an email sent to the Phoenix New Times in response to our questions this morning, a U of A representative also notes that the university has "championed" medical-marijuana research.

See also: -Dr. Sue Sisley, Medical-Marijuana Researcher, Fired From U of A Job in Alleged Political Move

Sisley, an outspoken MD who's been pushing to study how marijuana affects post-traumatic stress disorder patients, was told last month her contract with the U of A's Telemedicine Program wouldn't be renewed. She claims that Joe "Skip" Garcia, the University of Arizona's senior vice president for health sciences, told her that Senate President Andy Biggs had questioned Sisley's activism, and soon after she received the letter announcing her contract would not be renewed.

Here's what George Humphrey, a spokesman for the U of A, told us this morning:

"Dr. Garcia is out of town, traveling. Sorry, but the University of Arizona does not comment on personnel issues. However, you should know that the UA has not received political pressure to terminate any employee. Also in 2013, the UA championed state legislation to ensure that universities could perform medical marijuana research on campus. (For your reference that was SB1443: Marijuana; postsecondary education; medical research. It was signed by the Governor on 5/07/13.)"

This doesn't explain everything, obviously. Hopefully, Garcia will shed some light on Sisley's claims, which seem to go beyond a typical "personnel issue," when he gets back.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.