Attorney quits WVU committee, asks Garrison to step down

By Cara Bailey | Jun 5, 2008



CHARLESTON - A Charleston attorney has resigned from a West Virginia University committee in wake of a recent scandal involving the school's president and a degree awarded to the governor's daughter.

Ricklin Brown also sent President Mike Garrison a letter, asking him to step down from his position for the betterment of the school.

Brown sent Garrison and the Board of Governors a letter May 27, resigning from his position as a member of the WVU Law School Visiting Committee, in a sign of protest of the current administration at the school, he said.

Brown said he chose to resign to emphasize that he does not want to be associated with the university, from which he graduated, if Garrison remains in charge. Brown received a bachelor's degree from WVU in 1968 and graduated from the law school in 1975.

"My feelings toward the school haven't changed a bit," Brown said. "My feelings toward the people who were put in charge to run the school have changed quite a bit.

"WVU has only improved through the years, and this is a real black stain on the university's reputation."

WVU has been in the news recently, as a panel determined that Heather Bresch, the daughter of Gov. Joe Manchin, did not earn the Executive Master's of Business Administration she received. The five-member panel determined WVU administrators showed "seriously flawed" judgment in awarding Bresch the degree.

In the letter Brown sent to Garrison, he said that he has "watched, read and listened as this current scandal has inflicted pernicious damage to WVU," and could no longer sit by and be associated with the current administration after the panel released its findings.

Brown said his decision to step down was a personal one and not something he binds on others.

"I'm not saying everybody who is associated with the university should resign, it's their personal decision," Brown said. "This is the way I chose to emphasize how upset I am with the administration."

Brown is also withdrawing any donations from the university.

In the letter to Garrison, Brown said he gave Garrison the "benefit of the doubt" when he was appointed.

"We all expected and required much of you," the letter states. "I understand now it was mere hoping against hope. Unfortunately you squandered the gift and sold it cheap."

Brown said he does not have bad feelings for the law school or the committee, and would return if a different president asked him.

"This is about me and my association with WVU and the administration in Stewart Hall," Brown said.

Brown is an attorney with Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love in Charleston. Brown and Garrison briefly worked at the same law firm in 1999 before Garrison moved to Morgantown.

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