Jon Jonakin: On the subject of President Oldham’s recusal from investigation

February 14, 2018

President Oldham, Provost Stephens, Associate Provost Huo, Associate Vice President Otuonye, Associate Dean Hoy, Associate Dean Motevalli, Professor Killman, and Mr. Jones:

Faculty and others are expressing concern over one aspect in particular of the inquiry into the TTU/Fitzgerald research begun under the terms of Policy #780. It is unclear whether President Oldham, like Vice-President Soni, has recused himself from the inquiry and possible investigation.

If not, President Oldham should formally recuse himself immediately and on the basis of his prior support for this research and as evidenced by his and Associate Vice President Brewer’s signatures on the report sent to Congressperson Black and the U.S. EPA. It is likely that the inquiry committee will need to speak with President Oldham in the capacity of a ‘respondent’ in this matter and in order to determine what he knew about the details of the research and when; and what he knew about the process by which the Principal Investigator may have been wrongfully supplanted by others. Were President Oldham to retain his powers in this matter, and as spelled out in Policy #780, he would involve himself in a clear conflict of interest since ‘the President’ is responsible for determining whether or not to proceed to a formal investigation [see Section VIII.H of Policy #780].

Presumably Vice President Huo, as the ROI, will not also serve in the President’s designated role and make the above determination and whatever other determinations are called for by ‘the President’ in Policy #780. Once recused, the same policy would appear to require that a substitute be chosen in President Oldham’s place.

Thank you for your attention to the matters raised here.

Regards, Jon Jonakin, Emeritus Professor of Economics, TTU

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