The investigation into the University's handling of football star Mitch Marrow's academic eligibility will wrap up either tomorrow or Monday, when the four-member committee examining the issue will report to Provost Stanley Chodorow. But even as that work concludes, a group of professors criticized the University's handling of the investigation, lambasting the disclosure of Marrow's personal information and the lack of any public statement from Penn officials about the situation. "Unless the administration steps in, it is possible that this incident could have far-reaching implications for students and faculty throughout the University," eight professors wrote in a letter to University President Judith Rodin which was printed in the December 9 Almanac. In the last week of the football season, Athletic Department officials reportedly discovered that Marrow, a fifth-year College senior and a top NFL prospect, had dropped two courses early in the semester while suffering from mononucleosis. This left him enrolled in only two classes, dropping him to part-time status and making him academically ineligible to compete. Shortly thereafter, Marrow tried to enroll in an independent study with History Professor Beth Wenger, who turned him down on the advice of History Undergraduate Chairperson Bruce Kuklick and History Department Chairperson Lynn Lees. When Marrow then sought an independent study with Legal Studies Professor Kenneth Shropshire, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Rescorla disallowed the course, overturning Director of Advising for the College Diane Frey's initial approval. The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported the story on November 27. It is not clear how the newspaper learned of the situation. The letter to Rodin in Almanac criticized the public discussion of Marrow's academic record, including his grade-point average, which was printed in the Inquirer. The release of such information "violates [a] fundamental responsibility of faculty members to students, and in this case puts an academically vulnerable student at great risk for public humiliation," the letter said. Marrow said last week that he was considering suing Kuklick for his role in disclosing the story to the Inquirer, accusing the History professor of tipping the newspaper to the story. Kuklick has denied the charge. Yesterday, Marrow's attorney, Arthur Marion, refused to discuss the story, blasting The Daily Pennsylvanian's coverage thus far as "outrageous" and one-sided. The letter in Almanac also urged the University administration to support Shropshire's decision to grant Marrow an independent study, saying the Legal Studies professor -- who is also the University's faculty representative to the NCAA -- was within his rights to do so. "Dean Rescorla's disallowing the course and his decision to launch an investigation leaves open the inference that Professor Shropshire acted improperly and outside his discretion as a faculty member," the letter said. "The University had an obligation, we believe, to state in a timely and public manner that Professor Shropshire acted appropriately and properly." In a response also printed in Almanac, Rescorla stressed that his decision was based on purely administrative grounds. The letter was signed by Social Work professors Howard Arnold and Peter Vaughan, Education professors Vivian Gadsden and Howard Stevenson, English professors Houston Baker and Herman Beavers, Microbiology Professor Helen Davies and Sociology Professor Antonio McDaniel.Comments powered by Disqus
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