Chancellor Of LSU Resigns Amid Furor Over Student’s Readmission
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ The chancellor of the main campus of Louisiana State University has resigned amid a furor over his decision to readmit a graduate student who cheated and is related to a powerful legislator.
LSU System President Allen Copping announced James Wharton’s resignation at a news conference Wednesday. Wharton was not present and did not come out of his office to talk to reporters.
″I’m very sorry about this, but he feels that because certain things have happened that certain faculty members have lost confidence in him,″ said Copping, who stressed he did not encourage the chancellor to resign.
Wharton served seven years ago as chief executive of the 27,000-student campus here. He has tenure and will return to teaching chemistry, Copping said.
The announcement came shortly before the faculty senate was to release a critical report on Wharton’s decision to readmit the student.
Copping acknowledged that the student, whose name has not been released by the university, is related to Sammy Nunez, president pro tem of the Louisiana Senate. Pressed by reporters, Copping said Wharton told him that Nunez had inquired about the student’s status and had talked with the chancellor.
The incident came to light in October when members of the faculty questioned Wharton about the incident. The senate said it appeared Wharton acted on matters the faculty should control - academics and admissions.
At the time, Wharton said he felt the only issue was what rules apply in punishing a student. The graduate school catalog calls for a two-year suspension for academic misconduct while the Code of Student Conduct calls for a one-semester suspension.
Wharton said in October he felt the code should apply because the two-year rule was enacted after the student entered LSU.
″Chancellor Wharton and I have talked about this at length and he said he felt he followed the proper procedures,″ Copping said. ″I may or may not have done the same thing.″
Copping said Wharton told him of the decision to resign on Tuesday night and the LSU Board was informed Wednesday. Copping said he has not decided on an interim chancellor.