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Ramsey appoints committee to review student’s doctoral degree

September 10th, 2008

University of Louisville President James Ramsey formed a blue-ribbon committee today to investigate allegations of improper behavior in the awarding of a doctoral degree to a student in its College of Education and Human Development.

Ramsey appointed the committee after allegations surfaced that the university had awarded a doctoral degree to John Deasy in 2004 in violation of its own policies. The information was uncovered during an investigation into alleged misappropriation of federal grant monies by the colleges former dean, Robert Felner.

“When this investigation began, we were dealing with alleged criminal activity, which we immediately reported to federal authorities,” Ramsey said. “We have taken steps to address those serious issues. Now we are dealing with an issue that strikes at the heart of our institutional integrity. I have asked the committee to review this incident quickly, but thoroughly, and to report to me any improper or questionable behavior in the granting of this degree. If someone received a degree he did not earn, we would have no choice but to recommend rescinding that degree.”

Ramsey has asked William Pierce, a pharmacology professor, vice provost for graduate affairs and interim dean of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, to chair the committee. Other members include:

Ramsey asked the committee to report its findings as soon as possible. Pierce said much of the fact-finding already is under way.

“We take this charge seriously,” Pierce said. “A doctorate should not be granted; it should be earned. Our goal is to ensure the integrity of that process.”

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