Wright State’s executive vice president resigns

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 9:04 AM
Updated: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 5:11 PM

Robert J. Sweeney, Executive Vice President for Planning and Secretary to the Board of Trustees Wright State University

Wright State University’s executive vice president of planning is resigning, the Dayton Daily News has learned.

Robert Sweeney’s last day as part of the WSU administration will be May 20, said spokesman Seth Bauguess. Sweeney also serves as secretary to the board of trustees.

Sweeney will return to a finance faculty position in the Raj Soin College of Business. He will begin teaching full-time again either this summer or in the fall, Bauguess said.

RELATED: Top administrators looking to leave WSU for new jobs

Sweeney was not immediately available to comment on Thursday.

RELATED: Top Wright State official gets $60,000 extra for debate prep 

Sweeney’s resignation comes just days after this news organization learned that provost Tom Sudkamp and associate provost Steven Berberich are looking to leave the university. The two leaders were named as finalists for jobs at two different universities in Arkansas.

Robert Fyffe, Wright State’s vice president of research and graduate school dean, also recently announced he would resign, effective Sept. 30.

RELATED: Next WSU president talks about budget cuts, STEM jobs, working with faculty

Fyffe’s resignation came less than two weeks after an audit of WSU’s research funding was released by the board of trustees.

The leadership changes come as the school is dealing with a financial crisis that requires the administration to cut $25 million from next year’s budget to balance the books.

Wright State trustees have said they expected administrators to resign as the university begins the transition of bringing its next president into office.


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Police: Teen says he saw gun on 1 of 3 who robbed him at The Greene

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 4:29 PM

A 19-year-old reported he was robbed by three men, one of whom had a gun, after he agreed to meet another person at The Greene to sell a pair of shoes.

Officers responded to The Greene around 6 p.m. Friday after the alleged robbery happened.

According to a Beavercreek police report, the victim agreed to meet with another person to conduct a sale of the shoes near the movie theater at The Greene after agreeing on a price on the online service “Offer Up”.

The buyer was reportedly from the Columbus area, according to the report.

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The victim told police when he met to talk with the buyer, he saw the butt of a gun tucked into his pants.

According to the report, the victim was approached by three men, who then took the shoes and ran to the upper level of a nearby parking garage before fleeing in a green car.

The Greene security reviewed their surveillance cameras, but they did not appear to capture the incident, according to the report.

New Boonshoft Museum exhibit gives visitors real-time view of global weather patterns

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 6:45 PM

Every day, our Storm Center 7 team shows you the weather around the Miami Valley and beyond. We show you where there are clouds, when the rain will hit and how to prepare for severe weather.

Now, our Storm Center 7 team would like to invite you to see our planet in a whole new way through a partnership with the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Science on a Sphere is designed to show museum goers planet Earth as they’ve never seen it before.

"Science on a sphere was originally created by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a way to show everything that is happening on coastlines, things happening in the atmosphere, anything dealing with the weather, just to promote education to the public about all of that,” Mackenzie English, Laboratory Programs Coordinator at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery said.

"This is a giant, 68-inch diameter, carbon-fiber globe - suspended in mid-air … and it gives visitors an amazing perspective of our planet like you've never seen it before".

From the control console, visitors can get an astonishing array of visualizations of Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land. 

When selecting a feature such as "water vapor", the user will get real weather imagery projected onto the sphere with a detailed explanation of what you are seeing from one of our Storm Center 7 meteorologists.

Visitors can look at clouds, air and water temperatures, ocean currents and even watch commercial air traffic across the planet.

You can check out the Science on a Sphere at Boonshoft with our Storm Center 7 meteorologists Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday noon to 5pm.

For updates and more news click here to download our free apps.

Congressman Mike Turner target of national Democratic group

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 3:38 PM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 6:31 PM

Congressman Michael Turner (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time in more than a dozen years, the congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, is being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has named 79 seats of more than 130 it plans to focus on in 2018.

Turner was one of 20 new targets the DCCC announced Monday. He is one of only two that voted against the recent Republican legislation to replace Obamacare.

Mark Owens, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party says the DCCC sees the 10th District as winnable for a Democrat in part because of the district makeup and also because of the current political climate.

RELATED: Look back at Turner’ 2016 race

The district includes all of Montgomery, Greene and part of Fayette County.

Turner’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

“I think it’s because even though it is a gerrymandered district it is less gerrymandered than some others around the country,” Owens said.

Owens said two potential candidates are already interested in challenging Turner in 2018 but he would not name them as he did not have their permission to do so.

RELATED: With protesters outside Republicans at local GOP dinner stress unity

“One is a West Point grad, Afghan/Iraq vet” and the other is a a local businesswoman, Owens said. He said one of the two “has some wealth and is going to put some money into” the race, which Owens expects will require $1 million to $1.5 million to be competitive.

Blaine Kelly, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said Turner won by a large margin in the Nov. 2016 over teacher Robert Klepinger, a Democrat, and Huber Heights Mayor Thomas McMasters, an independent.

“The only explanation for the Democrats’ decision to target Congressman Turner, or any Republican seats in Ohio, is that they are gluttons for punishment. Congressman Turner’s constituents gave him a giant stamp of approval last November by reelecting him with sixty-four percent of the vote,” Kelly said. “Democrats can manufacture outrage when Republicans keep campaign promises, but they can’t fake votes.”

Turner’s seat is one of four in Ohio the DCCC believes can be taken from Republican incumbents in 2018. The others are U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, Bob Gibbs, R-Avon, and Dave Joyce, R-Russell Twp. Nearly all the targeted seats are held by the GOP and the others are open.

RELATED: Groups hold town hall without Rep. Mike Turner

Owens said a Democratic candidate can get logistical and fund-raising support from the DCCC in a targeted race. He thinks the last time Turner’s district was targeted was the year he won it in a 2002 battle against Democrat Rick Carne to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Tony Hall, D-Dayton.

“We’re incredibly excited that our national partners are expanding the map and targeting races like Ohio’s 10th Congressional District,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.

The DCCC raised more than $9 million in April, beating previous records for the month, according to The Hill. However that’s about $1 million less than what was raised last month by Republicans.

Ex-WSU administrator testifies he did not break any laws at the school

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 12:19 PM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 2:10 PM

A Wright State University administrator fired amid an ongoing criminal probe of WSU’s use of a work visa program said in court today he had broken no laws, and the university’s former president admitted he personally had no evidence to the contrary.

The hearing was in the civil lawsuit brought by Ryan Fendley alleging Wright State failed to provide him a required nine months of notice before terminating him in 2015 shortly after the federal investigation became public.

The suit seeks nine months of pay and benefits totaling more than $150,000.

RELATED: WSU leaders: Fire long-suspended workers

“Did you ever violate any laws in connection with your employment with Wright State?” Fendley’s attorney Theodore Copetas asked him under oath.

“No,” Fendley responded, answering the same to whether he ever violated any rules or regulations.

Copetas argued that Wright State had every right to terminate Fendley, but could only deprive him of the required notice if they could demonstrate “just cause.”

WSU attorneys argued former President David Hopkins, who was sitting at the defense table, was lead to believe Fendley was about to be indicted for allegedly violating federal immigration law.

The federal investigation into WSU’s use of the H-1B visa program became public in mid-2015 when Fendley was suspended along with the provost, a researcher and the school’s chief general counsel.

RELATED: Cost of Wright State probe tops $2 million

Fendley was the only one fired. The attorney retired with a separation agreement. The provost and researcher lost their administrative jobs but remain on paid leave as faculty more than two years later.

Hopkins testified that he took action after he and a university attorney met with U.S. attorneys at their office in Dayton for an hour.

“My impression was that three individuals employed by Wright State had conspired to commit visa fraud and my decision at that point, I thought, was for the best interest of the university to remove all three from their administrative positions,” he said.

Hopkins was prevented from testifying about exactly what U.S. attorneys told him that led him to that decision; the evidence was rejected by magistration Holly Shaver as second-hand “hearsay.”

Hopkins said Wright State didn’t conduct its own investigation of the allegations because they didn’t want to get in the way of the feds. For that reason, they had no documented evidence he had done anything wrong.

But WSU attorney Lee Ann Rabe said Fendley was well aware he was the target of a federal probe when he was fired.

“It strains credibility for Mr. Fendley to walk in here today and claim he has no idea why he was terminated by the university,” she said.

Fendley said the damages he was seeking would never replace all he lost when the university fired him.

“My reputation is in tatters in the community,” he said, his voice cracking. “And it’s been almost two years now and I haven’t been able to get a job.”


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