Local News

NCSU trustees to look into Easley mess

Posted July 15, 2009 10:26 a.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2009 10:55 a.m. EDT

— The Board of Trustees at North Carolina State University announced a plan Tuesday to look into the events that have rocked the school's leadership in recent months.

"Our first action together ... is to appoint an ad hoc committee to review the events of the last 9-12 months," said Lawrence Davenport, who was elected chairman of the trustees on Tuesday.

A federal grand jury is looking into the hiring and promotion of former first lady Mary Easley at the school as part of an investigation into the dealings of former Gov. Mike Easley.

Questions about Mary Easley's role and salary led to the resignations of McQueen Campbell, the former Board of Trustees chairman, Chancellor James Oblinger and Provost Larry Nielsen in the past two months. All have denied any wrongdoing, although e-mails turned over to the grand jury show communications between the three and the former governor before Mary Easley was hired in 2005.

N.C. State terminated Mary Easley's five-year contract June 8, ending her $170,000-a-year job as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer. Officials cited state budget cuts as the reason for the move. She has appealed the move.

"This is not an attempt to find fault or blame anyone but simply a chance to discuss and advise Chancellor (Jim) Woodward on our policies and procedures in an effort to pinpoint where they failed," Davenport said.

The committee formed Tuesday will report its findings and make recommendations back to the full board.