University of Illinois trustees fire professor

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Louis Wozniak photo from University of Illinois website

A tenured professor who has been in a four-year-long battle with the University of Illinois has been terminated from his job at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

A statement from the University said Louis Wozniak has been a tenured Associate Professor of Engineering at the university since 1972.  The board of trustees terminated his tenure and dismissed him from that position Thursday, November 14, 2013.

The Chicago Tribune reports Wozniak’s troubles may have begun when he didn’t receive a $500 student-selected teaching award in 2009.   What followed was a series of public and online complaints by Wozniak about the award that included a civil lawsuit during which he allegedly gave his attorney information about a student’s grades.

He was suspended from teaching after he sent a May 2010 email congratulating more than 100 graduating seniors, and telling them he might not remember each of their names because he only remembers the names of those with whom he’s had sex.  Wozniak said it was a joke and he issued an email apology.

The combination of events resulted in allegations of misconduct by Wozniak.  A faculty committee cleared him of most of the charges but determined in January 2013 that he should delete online references to a conversation he had with a student about that teaching award.  When he didn’t do that, university officials asked the board of trustees to terminate his tenure.

The board of trustees voted unanimously to remove Wozniak’s tenure effective immediately.

The board said it found clear and convincing evidence that Wozniak “can no longer be relied on to perform his university duties and functions in a manner consonant with professional standards of competence and responsibility.”