Sep 16, 2010
From staff reports
On Monday, Sept. 20, at 1:30 p.m., in Room 231 of Baker University Center, Ohio University will provide Jay S. Gunasekera, Ph.D., a public name-clearing hearing.
Andrew Mollica will moderate the hearing on behalf of Ohio University and summarize the facts which led up to the hearing.
On Jan. 11, 2010, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ordered a name-clearing opportunity as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit Dr. Gunasekera brought against former Provost Kathy Krendl and Russ College of Engineering and Technology Dean, Dennis Irwin.
Until the summer of 2006, Dr. Gunasekera held a Moss Professorship, served as Chair of the Russ Department of Mechanical Engineering, and held a University Distinguished Professorship. In
2004, a former Masters candidate alleged plagiarism in Mechanical Engineering Masters and Doctoral theses.
In response, Ohio University, through former Provost Krendl, instructed an administrator, Gary Meyer, and a Distinguished Retired Faculty Member, Hugh Bloemer, to investigate the plagiarism allegations.
On May 30, 2006, Meyer and Bloemer submitted their report to Ohio University officials. This report found that graduate students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering had been committing plagiarism in their theses for advanced degrees for over 20 years.
The report specifically alleged that faculty members, including Dr. Gunasekera, ignored their ethical responsibilities and contributed to an atmosphere where issues of academic misconduct were ignored.
On May 31, 2006, former Provost Krendl held a press conference publicizing the report which, by implication, named Dr. Gunasekera as a participant in the scandal. Dr. Gunasekera was suspended from Graduate Faculty Status, which rendered him ineligible to advise graduate students on their theses, and his Moss Professorship was rescinded.
The United States District Court, which, with the guidance of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, decided that Ohio University owed Dr. Gunasekera a name-clearing hearing because of the Liberty Interest protected by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
At the hearing, Dr. Gunasekera and his counsel will have an opportunity to refute the accusations made in the investigative report. A separate branch of the federal rights case, one which addresses the alleged loss of a Property Interest, is pending, as is an Ohio Court of Claims lawsuit against Ohio University for alleged defamation.