A faculty committe of Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has recommended that school trustees revoke a doctorate of public administration degree awarded last year to James W. Baldwin, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights.
Concurring with a recommendation made earlier by a lawyer for the university, the committed found that Baldwin had plagiarized substantial portions of a course paper that he submitted to fulfill requirements for the degree.
Hershel Shanks, Washington lawyer for the school, would not say yesterday what the possibilities were of the trustees accepting the recommendation and thus carrying out the first recovation in the school's history.
However, school president Abraham Fischler said in a written statement accompanying yesterday's announcement that the issues in the Baldwin case "have serious consequences for the individuals involved and for the university.
"Nova University will not compromise its standards of academic integrity, nor will it fail to meet its obligations to provide due process to its students," Fischler said.
The recommendation was scheduled to be presented to the trustees board next month, but that presentation may be delayed, Shanks said yesterday, because Baldwin plans to ask for an appeal hearing before a universitywide faculty committee.
The revocation was recommended by a faculty committee from the graduate program in public administration, through which Baldwin's degree was obtained. Neither Baldwin nor his attorney was available for comment yesterday.
The allegations against Baldwin stem from a job-related analytical report (JAR) submitted by Baldwin that included some work done by Richard Zamoff, a professor at Trinity College.
Baldwin had contended that Zamoff, who was given raw data by Baldwin, had only performed a statistical test known as a Chi-square to determine whether ten results of material analyzed were valid.
However, the faculty committee concluded that Baldwin "used without attribution much more of Zamoff's work than the Chi-square." Baldwins work actually contained, Shanks said yesterday, ideas, tables and explanations formulated by Zamoff but not properly credited to the college professor.
If the degree is revoked, it is not expected to affect Baldwin's $44,913-a-year salary as director of the office that investigates alleged violations of the city's antidiscrimination law.Yesterday's announcement, culminating a three-month investigation, comes at a time when the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics is about to begin proceedings on its charges that Baldwin violated the city's conflict-of-interest code by using city stationery to recruit students for the school.
At the time Baldwin did the recruiting, he was "in line" to become a consultant to the school and could have been paid up to $500 a month to supervise the instruction of those he helped recruit, according to Nova officials.
Baldwin has challenged the authority of the board to bring the charges against him, asking that the charge be dismissed in part on grounds of "executive privilege."
Baldwin has asserted in preliminary responses to the board that he already has been cleared of wrongdoing through an investigation and reports by city administrator Julian Dugas and presented to Mayor Walter E. Washington. However, a spokesman for the mayor said yesterday that Dugas had not completed his investigation of the Baldwin situation, and Baldwin had not been exonerated by the mayor.