Courthouse News Service
Courthouse News Service

Courthouse News Service
Thursday, September 04, 2008Last Update: 11:41:35 AM

Professor Says University Demoted Him
For Refusing To Condone Academic Fraud

     CHATTANOOGA (CN) - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga demoted the head of its Department of Philosophy and Religion because he refused to help the college cover up the academic fraud and misbehavior of a professor in his department, William Harman claims in Hamilton County Court.
     Harman, head of the UT-Chattanooga department since 2001, says the college demoted him to retaliate for his refusal to cover up the misdeeds of Professor Talia Welsh. He says Welsh made "extensive misrepresentations and false statements" in year-end reports, and in the resume she submitted with her application to UT-Chattanooga; that she "fraudulently took credit for several alleged publications which were discovered to be non-existent;" and that she received a raise and a "coveted UC Foundation Professorship" on the basis of these "fraudulent claims."
     Harman says that as part of his duties, he gave Welsh a poor year-end evaluation in 2007 because of this.
     He claims that Robert Burhenn, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, then ordered the Acting Dean to demand that Harman "remove all negative information (extensive class absences, extramarital affair with student, falsification of credentials) from Welsh's evaluation."
     Harman said he "informed Dr. Burhenn that he did not intend to remain silent about these matters while the University conducted a final tenure review for Welsh, who was guilty of egregious and unrepentant professional abuse and academic fraud."
     In retaliation, Harman says, he was "terminated as Department Head at the end of the academic year. This termination was based on Plaintiff's refusal to alter official documents or remain silent as to the academic fraud and professional malfeasance which was perpetrated on the University and the citizens of the State of Tennessee."
     He demands reinstatement, damages and costs. He is represented by Randall Larramore.