by Pam Zubeck
UPDATE: The Pentagon issued the following statement today:
Commanders are given broad latitude to administer punishment appropriate with the offense. USAFA/CC Lt Gen Gould has reviewed the AF IG report and will be the officer who decides what, if any, command action will be taken.
—————————————Original post, 5:14 p.m. THURSDAY——————————————————-
A finding of negligence has been ruled in the investigation of Air Force Academy Dean of Faculty Brig. Gen. Dana Born and Vice Dean Col. Richard Fullerton by the Air Force Inspector General's Office.
But it's unclear what, if any, disciplinary action has been or will be taken as a result of those findings.
The investigation was triggered by two complaints regarding credentials of academy professors.
One complaint specifically alleged that Born and Fullerton intentionally misled the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools about the qualifications of some instructors at the academy. The complaining party, former economics professor David Mullin, alleged that many instructors were teaching in fields for which they didn't have master's degrees.
In addition, Born was accused of misstating qualifications to the Independent in an interview for this report.
From that 2010 story:
Among active-duty military faculty, only 40 percent have doctoral degrees, compared to 80 percent of civilian faculty. Yet Born denies allegations that military instructors are less educated than their civilian counterparts. One reason for the disparity is the academy's practice of having captains and majors with master's degrees teach low-level courses. Born asserts that all AFA instructors have graduate degrees in the areas they teach, or related areas.
In a letter to Mullin, the Inspector General's Office wrote:
— Col. Fullerton was negligent in making an absolute statement concerning the academic credentials of United States Air Force Academy faculty members while authoring the Academy's 2009 Institutional Self-Study Report to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
— Brig. Gen. Born was negligent in making an absolute statement to a local newspaper regarding the military faculty's specific academic credentials as they related to teaching disciplines without first confirming the accuracy of the supporting data.
The letter goes on to say the investigation found "no evidence supporting any allegatios or claim that the USAFA faculty is not 'qualified' to teach at USAFA."
Read the whole letter here. Mullin_from_SAF_IGS_February_10_2012.pdf
(We'll note here that the IG's office never contacted us and never interviewed us. Apparently they accepted our published story as de facto evidence that Born told us what we reported she told us.)
Says Mullin in an interview: "They’re trying to white wash this as much as possible, given the enormous amount of evidence against them. They're trying to exonerate the Air Force Academy and the Air Force. The academy might meet a bare minimum standard based on accreditation, but is that still good enough considering the academy portrays itself as a premier institution? At best, it’s misleading and at worst its fraud."
Mullin's next step is to file complaints with the Higher Learning Commission and the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business, which also provides accreditation to the academy.
His attorney, Robert Eye, also will seek through the Freedom of Information Act a copy of the investigative report.
We've asked for a comment from the Pentagon and also the academy and will update when we hear back.