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Ohio University takes actions in response to recommendations from independent team investigating plagiarism allegations

ATHENS, Ohio (July 10, 2006) -- In response to recommendations by an independent team investigating allegations of plagiarism, two faculty members in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio University already have faced sanctions and more sanctions may follow in the fall.

Jay Gunasekera and Bhavin Mehta have been relieved of their duties as graduate advisers.  Gunasekera's privilege to advise graduate students has been suspended for three years and Mehta will not advise graduate students for the duration of his faculty contract.

Also, the two received no merit pay increases for the academic year of 2006-07, according to Dennis Irwin, dean of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

In addition, Gunasekera has stepped down as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.  The decision was made jointly between Gunasekera and Irwin.

The recently released provost-sanctioned independent investigative report of plagiarism allegations compiled by Gary Meyer, assistant vice-president for economic and technology development in the Innovation Center; and Hugh Bloemer, professor emeritus of geography, director emeritus of the Cartographic Center and former Faculty Senate chair, recommended that Gunasekera be referred to the Russ College's Professional Ethics Committee for possible action. 

Dean Irwin is sending the matter directly to his faculty this fall to determine the possibility of further sanctions. 

Irwin also will meet during the fall term with other Russ College named-professors to determine whether Gunasekera's Moss Professorship should be terminated.

Gunasekera's current Distinguished Professor Award is a university-level appointment.  Possible revocation of that award is presently under consideration.  All current and emeriti faculty who received the award will be eligible to voice an opinion on this issue. A final determination is expected by early fall quarter.

Mehta is an Ohio University Group II faculty member, which is a year-to-year contract and non-tenured.  In early March 2006, he was notified that his contract would not be extended beyond the 2006-07 academic year.  During his year remaining at Ohio University, he only will be doing research.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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