Local News

UNC professor resigns over text messages

Posted November 18, 2010 12:16 p.m. EST

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor resigned Tuesday amid an internal investigation into sexually explicit text messages he sent to a student, officials said Thursday.

Monty Cook was the executive producer of the Reese Felts Digital News Project in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The program is designed to test theories about online news and marketing.

Cook attributed his departure to "developments in my personal life," but a Monday letter from Dean Jean Folkerts states that Cook had been put on "off-campus assignment" last weekend after allegations surfaced about a relationship between him and a female student.

The student's former boyfriend confronted Cook last week about sexually explicit texts the professor sent to the student. Folkerts said in the letter that she spoke with the student on Sunday and reviewed messages "that seem to indicate (Cook) initiated and fostered an amorous relationship with the student" in violation of university policies.

Cook was told to remain off campus and not contact any UNC journalism students while officials investigated the case, but he submitted his resignation a day later.