Sweet orders review of hiring
YSU's president wouldn't discuss the review's possible consequences.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University officials are scrutinizing the process used in hiring a forensic science instructor whose professional work in Cleveland has been challenged as flawed.
The review was ordered recently by YSU President Dr. David Sweet, who said Wednesday he took the action in response to press inquiries regarding the selection earlier this month of Joseph Serowik as an assistant professor in YSU's department of criminal justice.
Serowik was hired for the $48,000-a-year full-time post despite YSU officials' knowing his work as a scientific examiner in the Cleveland Police Department lab is the subject of an audit sparked by a federal lawsuit.
Sweet said he was unaware of the controversy surrounding Serowik when he was hired by the university Aug. 9.
"I normally wouldn't be involved" in hiring an assistant professor, Sweet explained.
He will, though, be involved in reviewing how Serowik came to be hired.
Sweet wouldn't elaborate on the review, nor would he discuss the possible consequences of it and whether the inquiry might result in YSU's trying to remove Serowik from his new job.
Previous defense of hiring
Dr. Jim Conser, interim chairman of YSU's Department of Criminal Justice, previously has defended Serowik's hiring from among 16 applicants.
Conser said that faculty members who initially weighed the hiring were aware of Serowik's work in Cleveland being under a cloud, but they still felt he would make a good instructor.
Serowik was unavailable to comment Wednesday.
He previously has said that an audit of his work in Cleveland will validate his performance.
The audit was undertaken by Cleveland as part of a $1.6 million settlement in a federal lawsuit filed against the city by Michael Green.
Green was wrongfully convicted of rape in a 1988 Cleveland trial based in part on testimony offered by Serowik, who examined evidence in the case.
Green was freed in 2001 after DNA testing proved he was innocent.
The lawsuit Green brought against the city as a result of his imprisonment scrutinized Serowik's work and featured testimony from experts who found his analytical techniques flawed, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland has reported.