Marshall University Responds to FOIA Request

By westvirginia on October 6, 2009
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It’s been five days since Marshall University was asked to turn over documents pertaining to a recent grade scandal. Finally, as this story was being written, the university responded.

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009, West Virginia Watchdog filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request to Rosalyn Anstine Templeton, Executive Dean of the Marshall University College of Education and Human Services. the FOIA request asked for any emails, print records, or phone call records between Templeton and West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue.

Perdue’s daughter, Emily Perdue, had two incomplete grades changed to A’s by Templeton, who had not taught the classes. The teacher who had given the incompletes, Laura Wyant, did not give permission for the grades to be changed, nor had she received the completed course work in order to change the grades.

When calling the university to find out the status of the FOIA request, Templeton directed all questions to Provost Gayle Ormiston.

“I sent it to the the provost and Layton Cottrill, the lawyer. You can check with them,” said Templeton.

A phone call was made to Ormiston, but she was not available. Two hours later a fax was sent from Bill Bissett, Chief of State and Senior Vice President for Communications.

“Please accept this letter as our response to your recent FOIA request,” wrote Bissett. “We do not have any emails, print communications or telephone records between Dean Rosalyn Templeton and State Treasurer John Perdue.”

Ry Rivard, with The Charleston Daily Mail, broke the original story (The Charleston Daily Mail, “Debate over changed grades heats up”). The paper claims that the grade changes “came after a series of events involving Templeton, the Perdue family and other college officials.” In a quote from Rivard’s story, Templeton confirms this:

“Emily Perdue and her father met with Darlene [Daneker, an associate dean.] today,” Templeton wrote. “Emily indicated that she will need a grade in the two courses before the LCOB [Marshall’s Lewis College of Business] will let her into their program. Darlene said that Emily was anxious that if she could not complete these courses entering into her new program would be held-up.

“Will she be able to complete these two courses?”

Wyant said she replied that the student “has not completed any assignments” and it would be “extremely hard” for the student to do all the work that needed to be done.

Days later, at a May 1 meeting, Wyant said it was indicated that Templeton “would be taking over the instruction of those courses for that student.” Wyant recalls that was “very close to the end of the semester.”

“I think it’s highly interesting that I was the instructor of record, the student didn’t want to work with me, so all the sudden the dean becomes the instructor,” Wyant said, adding that the class is outside Templeton’s area of expertise.

Debate over changed grades heats up  – News – Charleston Daily Mail – West Virginia News and Sports -

Paul Nyden, with The Charleston Gazette, reported that Provost Ormiston was satisfied that the grade changes were appropriate (The Charleston Gazette, “Marshall provost ‘satisfied’ about Perdue case”):

“From our perspective, we are satisfied with what we found out. Changing an incomplete to a letter grade is a normal process.

“We want students to complete their work. We want them to complete their grades. That is an important piece of information for everyone to keep in mind,” Ormiston said.

Marshall provost ‘satisfied’ about Perdue … – News – The Charleston Gazette – West Virginia News and Sports

We will continue to follow this story.

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  1. BREAKING: Grand Jury Subpoenas Marshall Officials

    […] At the end if September West Virginia Watchdog filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request for any emails, print records, or phone call records between Templeton and West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue. According to Bill Bissett, Chief of State and Senior Vice President for Communications, no such records exist (read here). […]

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