Lang, WVU settle academic misconduct case

By Steve Korris | Jul 20, 2011


MORGANTOWN - Former West Virginia University provost Gerald Lang and the Board of Governors settled a suit that delayed for two years the school's investigation of a master's degree it awarded to Heather Bresch, daughter of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

Monongalia Circuit Judge Susan Tucker dismissed Lang's suit on July 6, and vacated orders that stopped the investigation.

The Board of Governors relayed the news to U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp in Clarksburg, where two other figures in the scandal sued the school.

Faculty member Cyril Logar and former business dean Stephen Sears claim the board and individuals sabotaged their reputations and deprived them of benefits and privileges.

The board has claimed the pair should await the result of the investigation before suing, and they have answered that Tucker ended the investigation.

Logar and Sears allege that in 2007, when news broke about Bresch's degree, Lang recruited them to conduct an investigation.

They allege that they concluded she didn't complete the necessary course work.

Sears alleges that at Lang's direction, with advice of university counsel Alex Macia, he advised media outlets that she earned her degree.

Logar and Sears allege that in 2008, a discovery committee charged them, Lang, and others with misconduct but didn't charge Macia.

Lang sought relief in the local courthouse in 2009, and Tucker granted it.

She found fatal conflicts of interest in the investigation.

She denied reconsideration this January, and the Board of Governors petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeals for review.

The Justices sent the case back to Tucker in May, after Lang and the school reported they had reached agreement.

Lang and the school wrapped up the details, and Tucker dismissed the suit.

Stamp, eager to assess how the end of Lang's suit affects Logar and Sears, set a status conference Aug. 1.

He plans trial starting in April.

The scandal caused university president Michael Garrison to resign in 2008.

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