Dean fired for lying to faculty about how much money university has for raises

I’m kidding, that’s just bargaining. But when a professor lies to his dean about an outside offer, that’s a felony:

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A former professor at Colorado State University is facing a felony charge for fabricating an outside job offer to improve his status at CSU.

Professor Brian McNaughton, 40, ran the McNaughton Lab, a biochemistry research group at CSU.

He is now charged with attempt to influence a public official, for presenting his employers with a fictitious offer letter from the University of Minnesota in order to get more money from CSU.

…  McNaughton resigned his position at CSU. In a letter to the Dean, McNaughton apologized for an “enormous mistake.” He wrote that he got the idea to fake the outside offer from colleagues.

“It was openly stated that multiple former CSU faculty (now either dead or no longer affiliated with CSU) lied about an outside offer as a mechanism to improve their salary,” McNaughton wrote. “I’m not excusing it, and I’m not excusing my own actions, but these factors are real.”

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the link.

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16 Responses to Dean fired for lying to faculty about how much money university has for raises

  1. justsayuotoducks says:

    It does seem way over the line to forge the signature of someone at another institution, though apparently that’s not really what drew the felony charge. The law ought to be changed.

    As to negotiating tactics, my strategy has always been to just quietly take my new offer, if it seems better.

  2. XDH says:

    All of this, including no job in the end, for a $4000/year raise??? Poorly played, young man….. while sad of the outcome, flat out lying is not the way to go. Then again, if universities ACTUALLY gave real, substantive raises, this kind of stupidity would be less likely to happen….

    • Dog says:

      I disagree, this stupidity will always happen as it is ultimately driven by faculty ego.

      Mine’s bigger, I deserve a raise ….

      • justsayuotoducks says:

        Once you realize that your ex is going to take it all away from you anyway in the divorce, you can adopt a much more zen-like attitude…

    • uomatters says:


      • dog says:

        nothing wow about this
        I know of many similar occurrences at U. Wash, Harvard.
        U. Michigan and even some from here. It is a matter of subtlety and common sense. The idea is to provide the illusion at your current University that your more valuable than your current University thinks you are.

        The problem with the CSU case is a) CSU is a second rate school and b) there was nothing subtle about this.

        I know of many individual cases where perception of loss was greater than reality and large retention raises happened

        Note: this has not happened to me since everyone always wants dogs to leave …

  3. UofOGrad says:

    So, it was all because of the woman….
    I knew it!!

  4. Skeptic says:

    The letter was a death nail. Way too much information. Nobody feel sorry for him. He was crazy. His wife was crazy. And now one or both of them might go to prison for it.

    • DommerTom says:

      I’m not convinced his wife was crazy. She had the good sense to take the kids and leave him, and she told him not to forge the letter. Just because she hasn’t talked to the press doesn’t make her crazy. You’re assuming that the comments of her crazy husband are all true (and we know that honesty isn’t exactly his long suit).

  5. Skeptic says:

    Also, if you are going to be fraudulent to get a raise, the main thing to do is to pressure a grad student or post doc to falsify data while you can claim plausible deniability, publish in top journals, and if they ever turn you in, its too late definitely not your fault…..

    That’s never actually happened though right?

  6. Hippo says:

    It gets better. He was hired by UDel:

    It’s almost like he is a Div I basketball or football coach: scandal, no problem, new job!

  7. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    And we trust these guys to do clinical trials or research climate change?

  8. Anonymous says:

    he was hired at UDel. They took back the offer because of this.

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