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Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana S’nisha Wilcox PR Research & Strategies, Florida A&M University March 27, 2012 (http://img3.findthebest.com/sites/default/files/419/media/images/Southern_.

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Presentation on theme: "Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana S’nisha Wilcox PR Research & Strategies, Florida A&M University March 27, 2012 (http://img3.findthebest.com/sites/default/files/419/media/images/Southern_."— Presentation transcript:

1 Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana S’nisha Wilcox PR Research & Strategies, Florida A&M University March 27, 2012 (http://img3.findthebest.com/sites/default/files/419/media/images/Southern_ University_Law_School_in_Baton_Rouge_Louisiana.jpeg)

2 The Event: “Grades-for-Cash” Scandal  Southern University Internal Auditors discover a falsifying grade/diploma scandal, that had been operating since 1995, in March  Initial News Report: Former assistant registrar, whose name was not included in the beginning of investigation and later identified as Cleo Carroll Jr., is suspected to be leader of grade and diploma scandal.  Rumors spread: Former assistant registrar suspected to have student “runners” involved in scandal.  541 former and current students implicated in illegal grade change/false diploma scandal.

3 Backstory  Former assistant registrar, Cleo Carroll Jr. worked at both Southern University locations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA.  Fraudulent degree is what leaked the scandal: student enrolled in one of Southern University’s graduate programs, but the academic dept. could not find record of them earning a degree at the university.  Investigators found a trail of unauthorized grade changes under Carroll’s employee code and he was fired.  Estimate of 2,500 transactions were made to make the grade changes.

4 Before, during and after Investigation  Assistant Registrar fired due to illegal unauthorized grade changes.  Internal auditor assigned to Chancellor’s office to monitor the Registrar office.  Scandal leaked to local news in Louisiana by the end of March.  March 31: Conference held with a panel to evaluate each alleged student’s case.  By April 2004: Findings from audit reported to the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s office.  March 2005: Auditor confirms that Carroll made grade changes for paid transactions.  Dec. 19, 2005: Carroll pleads guilty to bribery charges and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Media Highlights

5 At the trial….  In Dec. 2005: Carroll was accused of taking $7,700 from current and former students.  10 former students’ degrees were revoked.  27 students’ academic credits were revoked.  Sentence hearing scheduled for late February/early March  Louisiana Dept. of Education was notified in case false teaching certificates were awarded to any alleged students involved in case. (http://www.sus.edu/Images/Inte rior/su%20logo_web.jpg)

6 Robert Smith - bachelor's in elementary education in 1989 and a master's in counselor education in Tocquen Hill - bachelor's in agriculture and home economics, Shanda Franklin - bachelor's in business management, Gregory Thompson- bachelor's in electrical engineering, Donald Kelly - bachelor's in biology, Richard Dumas - bachelor's in political science, Chanda Rollins - bachelor's in speech pathology and audiology, Takiyah Peoples - bachelor's in therapeutic recreation and leisure, Kimberli Mason - bachelor's in accounting, Shawanda Leslie - bachelor's in computer science, former students whose degrees were revoked from scandal

7 The Story Continues…  In 2006: Cleo Carroll Jr. is sentenced five months in a halfway house and five months under house arrest.  He is required to pay $3,000 fine, $100 special assessment fee, and placed on probation for five years.  The former assistant registrar was given a lighter sentence for providing information about the five students he received approximately $7,700 for altering their grades.

8 What worked well? What didn’t work well?  Keeping Carroll’s face out of print media.  Getting the chancellor involved with the internal audit.  Having the president and chancellor express their opinions on national media regarding the issues relevance to the university.  Letting an ongoing scandal go unnoticed from due to supposed “trust” amongst employees instead of following regulations.  Not being able to handle every case accordingly, Carroll was only accused of five later cases dating back to PR Lessons Learned

9 What they did? What they didn’t do?  Assigned the old registrar to a new position and brought in new registrar Brenda K. Williams.  State-of-the-art monitor control systems were installed for Registrar’s office.  Other staff changes were made.  Southern A&M University did not make major strategic changes until 2011, when they began to crumble financially.  Some school officials did not get involved (making statements) until after sentencing. Lessons for Southern A&M University


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