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N.C. students, staff voice concerns over Easley controversy

Posted May 20, 2009
Updated May 21, 2009

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— Some students and staff are closely watching and asking questions about the controversy surrounding Mary Easley's job at North Carolina State University.

On Tuesday, federal investigators subpoenaed the former first lady's employment records back to 2002. The subpoenas order N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger, Provost Larry Nielsen and the university's custodian of records to appear before a federal grand jury Thursday morning.

"I think students see it as somewhat of a public embarrassment,” said Jim Ceresnak, student body president at N.C. State.

Ceresnak says he thinks Easley should step down, and then everyone could start to move on.

"It is frustrating, because I feel that this isn't what we need to be focused on right now,” Ceresnak said.

Easley controversy sparks debate among N.C. State staff Easley controversy sparks debate on campus

Some faculty members say they were kept out of the loop as the controversy surrounding Easley began to unravel.

"It is disappointing that there has been virtually no communication with the faculty,” said Jim Martin, chair of the university's faculty senate.

The university is taking its first step to move past the scrutiny. Earlier Wednesday, former Lt. Gov. Bob Jordan was chosen as the new chairman of the school's trustee board.

Jordan succeeds McQueen Campbell, who resigned last week amid questions about his role in the university's hiring of Easley. Jordan will serve out the rest of Campbell's term, which ends July 14.

Campbell denied playing a part in Easley obtaining a high-paying job at N.C. State four years ago, but he said his departure was in the best interests of the university.

Campbell was the second high-ranking N.C. State official to resign in two days over questions about Easley's job. Provost Larry Nielsen, who hired her, also stepped down.

Easley began working as a part-time instructor at N.C. State in 2002. Since 2005, she has served as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer, developing a speakers program and teaching a graduate course in public administration and courses in the Administrative Officers Management Program, which provides leadership training to law enforcement officers.

Last year, she received an 88 percent pay increase, to $170,000 a year. N.C. State officials defended the move, saying she had taken on additional duties, such as directing pre-law services at the university and serving as a liaison to area law firms and law schools at other universities as she developed a dual-degree program.

19 Comments

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  • Ladybug1 May 22, 2009

    hereandnow99 - The only "controversy" is the Crusaders on a witch hunt who are now wasting our tax dollars to have this "nothing" investigated. Ms. Easley is a sharp, experienced attorney and could easily make double her salary in the private sector...but like school teachers & social workers, she chooses to help the state. This is just like the Clinton/Whitewater witch hunt...millions wasted for nothing...except to try to make them look bad.
    hereandnow99
    "hereandnow99" - One Question....Is you last name Easley?

  • A confused citizen May 21, 2009

    Mary Easley should not step down. Who better to teach a course on ethics and how to use influence and power for personal gain? Just think how much better our future leaders will be, learning how to manipulate the system for personal gain. NC State will be the envy of all the other institutes of higher learning. Perhaps we could hire Bernard Madoff to chair the Department of Management, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship on a work release program

  • nufsaid May 21, 2009

    "nufsaid...I beg your pardon, the Easley's were servants...TO THIS STATE AND EACH CITIZEN.....they both need to be jailed.
    crustyhalo"

    I agree that they theoretically were public servants. The fact is they neither acted nor were treated as servants. More like royalty.

  • crustyhalo May 21, 2009

    nufsaid...I beg your pardon, the Easley's were servants...TO THIS STATE AND EACH CITIZEN.....they both need to be jailed.

  • likemenow May 21, 2009

    RE:" NCSU doesn't even have a law school"...i wonder how many people missed that little tidbit of information...so, she is a liasion between NCSU and local/regional law firms..is that so she and her accessories-before/after-the-fact have adequate representation? Certainly it's not because law firms are fighing to break down the doors at the prestigious law school at NCSU...too sad/funny

  • affirmativediversity May 21, 2009

    "...stop the baseless attacks people who are trying to make a positive difference in this world."

    ++++++++++

    You are kidding, right? Or in your world are the rivers made of chocolate, the mountains made of candy and the trees are all lollipops?

  • nufsaid May 21, 2009

    "Maybe this is not a kosher situation, but we don't know!

    If anyone (e.g. nufsaid) has any PROOF of anything they are asserting, I'm sure the courts would love to have it. Until then, it's PURELY speculation that is causing enough heartburn that good people are resigning. These are public servants who don't make as much as folks on the outside, because, for some reason, they put people in front of profits. So, let's ask questions if we're unsure, but stop the baseless attacks people who are trying to make a positive difference in this world.
    hereandnow99"

    The Easleys were not servants. They were and are self serving elites that have contempt for the peon taxpayers. The proof will come out in the courts, if given the chance. Your blind support for politicians, both State and Federal is really sad.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 21, 2009

    Maybe this is not a kosher situation, but we don't know!

    If anyone (e.g. nufsaid) has any PROOF of anything they are asserting, I'm sure the courts would love to have it. Until then, it's PURELY speculation that is causing enough heartburn that good people are resigning. These are public servants who don't make as much as folks on the outside, because, for some reason, they put people in front of profits. So, let's ask questions if we're unsure, but stop the baseless attacks people who are trying to make a positive difference in this world.

  • thopkins01 May 21, 2009

    Its high time for Mary Easley to face the music right along with her husband(remember for better or worse). I hope she enjoyed her luxery trip in Europe off taxpayers dollars! I am sick of both of the Easley's...they have done more harm than good!!

  • maddie May 21, 2009

    LadyBlue: the 88% raise did make a lot of eyebrows go up. She does not have faculty status nor is she a tenure track faculty member. I hope her speech today is a little less arrogant than her last one. I will read the writeup but will not listen to her.

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