No Charges For Prof In `Misconduct'

Posted: October 23, 1996

Temple University President Peter Liacouras has decided not to charge outgoing African-American studies chairman Molefi Asante with ``grave misconduct'' for his actions toward an untenured assistant professor who claimed he plagiarized her work.

But Liacouras did conclude that soured business dealings between Asante and his onetime star pupil, assistant professor Ella Forbes, ``sufficiently tainted'' the review of Forbes' application for a permanent faculty position.

``Once Dr. Asante entered into the external business relationship with Dr. Forbes . . . a potential conflict of interest within the university was created,'' Liacouras wrote in his decision.

Liacouras has granted Forbes a one-year job in the department. He said Forbes had agreed to defer her tenure review until the 1997-98 academic year. Asante, who said he will resign at the end of this year, will have no role in her future reviews or tenure application.

The decision is a victory in Forbes' career.

It also vindicates Asante, a pioneer in Afrocentrism, author of 38 books and founder of the first doctoral program for the discipline in the country.

Liacouras concluded that Forbes relinquished her claim of ``grave misconduct'' and plagiarism against Asante when she agreed to allow up to 30 percent of her work to be used in the textbook without her name.

Still Liacouras lamented that the controversy and conflict of interest could have been avoided if both parties followed university rules and notified officials of their business dealings.

``The unfortunate series of charges, counter-charges, gossip, suspicions, and innuendoes found in the record'' are what the school's policies are designed to avoid, he concluded.

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