MU provost, professor subpoenaed
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University's provost and a professor involved with the recent grade controversy involving state Treasurer John Perdue's daughter have received subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury.
Professor Laura Wyant said she received a subpoena from the FBI Thursday afternoon. Provost Gayle Ormiston also was served with a federal subpoena to be a fact witness for a grand jury investigation, according to MU Chief of Staff Bill Bissett.
"As we have done throughout this process, we will assist fully in this investigation," Bissett said. "We remind you that an internal review was conducted, and we remain confident that there was no inappropriate action by Marshall University."
Bissett said he was unaware of any other Marshall employees receiving subpoenas.
Wyant said she is scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in Charleston on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
"I don't have any idea how it will proceed," Wyant said. "I'm to bring my records and explain the same thing I already told agents."
Wyant was the professor for two independent studies courses Perdue's daughter was enrolled in during the spring 2009 semester. Those courses were taken over by College of Education and Human Services Executive Dean Rosalyn Templeton in May after a meeting involving Templeton and Perdue.
E-mails obtained by The Herald-Dispatch through the Freedom of Information Act confirmed that Templeton became the instructor of record. Wyant has said in interviews that she didn't agree to the instructor change and that Templeton would not sign forms to make the dean the instructor of record.
According to an internal investigation conducted by Orminston, the student finished the work. Templeton submitted a grade change form to change the grades of incompletes given the student by Wyant to A's. But Templeton failed to fill out part of the form, and it was returned to Wyant.
Wyant last month confirmed that she had been questioned by the FBI several times over the past few weeks. She wouldn't specify the nature of the investigation, noting that she is awaiting guidance and a possible subpoena from the FBI before discussing it.
Joseph Ciccarelli, supervisory senior resident agent for the FBI, has neither confirmed nor denied that the FBI was investigating the matter at Marshall. But he said such an investigation would not center on a grade change. It would focus on whether a public official used his or her power to do something a regular citizen couldn't do.
Marshall's Faculty Senate Executive Committee voted Monday to investigate the situation after Wyant delivered a petition Monday that was signed by 42 faculty members. Senate members are considering policy changes to prevent the paperwork error that led to Wyant receiving the grade change form.
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