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YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY Panel finds professor guilty of misrepresenting credentials



Published: Thu, June 24, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Neil has said he earned his credentials and is qualified to teach.

By JoANNE VIVIANO

VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Youngstown State University human ecology professor is guilty of professional misconduct for misrepresenting his credentials, an investigatory panel has determined.

The accusation against Dr. William Bruce Neil was deemed "justified" Wednesday by a five-member Case Investigation Subcommittee of the YSU Professional Conduct Committee. The group made the decision by a unanimous vote.

Neil has been accused of holding invalid master's and doctorate degrees. Neil was granted the degrees in 1994 and 1995 from the distance-learning LaSalle University in Louisiana, which was not accredited by a recognized accreditation agency.

The full Professional Conduct Committee was to meet today to review a report of the subcommittee and has 21 days to either affirm or reject the subcommittee's findings.

If affirmed by the full committee, the group's decision will be referred to Jean Hassell, chairwoman of the Department of Human Ecology, who will determine any sanctions after consultation with other university officials.

If unfavorable to him, Neil could appeal the full committee's decision to YSU President David C. Sweet.

What he's paid

Neil, an associate professor, is paid a $60,000 salary under a contract that expires Aug. 6. He was paid an additional supplemental salary for "overload" work during the fall and spring terms and also is being paid an additional sum for teaching summer courses through the Aug. 6 date, said YSU spokesman Walt Ulbricht. The amount of the overload and summer pay were not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

Neil could not be reached.

He has said in the past that he is aware that LaSalle University had an illegitimate accreditation at the time he was awarded his degrees; however, he maintains that he did the work to earn his credentials and is qualified to teach at YSU.

During an open meeting Wednesday, the subcommittee said Neil misrepresented his "academic and employment credentials." A copy of the group's report was not released to the public and members declined to comment.

The subcommittee of four professors and one associate dean was formed April 20 to review formal allegations against Neil. Over the past two months, the group has held several hours-long, closed-door meetings to investigate the case. Richard Walker, who chaired the subcommittee, said the group interviewed Neil and members of the search committee that hired him and reviewed other relevant information.




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