Henry Webb, former Indiana University of Pennsylvania business professor, in the campus Oak Grove, May 30, 2021. Photo: David Loomis
By David Loomis
INDIANA – Among a reported 15 percent of full-time instructors retrenched, retired or resigned at Indiana University of Pennsylvania since Halloween Eve are two attorneys on the business-school faculty. Until their layoffs earlier this month, Brion A. Scudder and Henry Webb were licensed lawyers among the hundreds of faculty members on the payroll of Indiana County’s largest employer.
Scudder and Webb, professors of business law in IUP’s Finance and Legal Department of the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology, share another trait: They are whistleblowers, not shy about asserting what they say are university administrators’ failings in the systemwide restructuring that reportedly hits IUP faculty harder than faculty at any other of the State System of Higher Education’s 14 campuses.
On May 26, for example, Webb sent a blast on the campus email system addressed to IUP faculty, IUP President Michael Driscoll, Provost Timothy Moerland and state-system Chancellor Dan Greenstein.
”If an administration intentionally planned to turn a university into a diploma mill that admitted unqualified students with no indicia of academic ability solely to obtain their tuition and fees, and such that nearly half of all students admitted fail to earn a degree within six years of their matriculation, how would that look any different than what has happened at IUP from 2012 to the present?” Webb asked.
“This administration has completely mishandled retrenchment and destroyed the morale of the remaining faculty and staff,” Webb concluded. “IUP desperately and immediately needs new, competent leadership…. How long will this be allowed to continue?”
Scudder followed on June 3 with an email addressed to more than 100 campus recipients and bearing the header “Proposed criminal indictment for IUP.”
“Right now (or in the next few months) there will be three lawsuits in federal court that deal with the curriculum changes in the Eberly College of Business,” Scudder summarized. “There are also multiple pending cases in front of union arbitration on these matters. Finally there are likely to be criminal charges filed.”
Scudder attached a proposed 19-page document with exhibits he says he will submit by month’s end to the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and the state attorney general.
One of the draft documents alleges “illegal use of the curriculum process to deny faculty rights and violate the law.”
To wit: “criminal fraud,” according to Scudder.