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ALBRIGHT PRESIDENT COL HENRY ZIMON, ACCUSED OF LYING ON RESUME, FORCED OUT


Col Henry A Zimon, who was accused of falsifying his resume at the time he was hired, resigned abruptly as president of Albright College on Feb 20, 2004.

His resignation came within hours of a review by the full Board of a blistering consultantsí report, delivered to the Albright College trustees over the weekend. His resignation, effective immediately, ostensibly because of ďpersonal and family issues,Ē was presented and accepted at an executive session of the Board of Trustees on Friday Feb 20. The college removed Zimonís misleading biography, which had been a source of considerable aggravation to many Albright faculty members, from its website on Feb 24.

Col Zimonís ouster long sought by several faculty members after his academic fraud was exposed in 1999 brings closure to a festering controversy that had debilitated the institution and was a source of acute embarrassment to students and faculty at the college. Fundraising declined precipitously during Col Zimonís tenure as the college lost enormous credibility within academe and alumni, foundations and others became leery about lending their support to the institution. Col Zimonís legacy at the institution included efforts at fudging institutional rankings and censoring the campus newspaper, The Albrightian, for reporting on the collegeís academic decline under his watch. At least one trustee and a half dozen faculty members resigned from the institution in disgust. Col Zimonís fraud, which has been documented in stories in the October 22, 1999, issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education www.chronicle.com as well as reported by the Associated Press and in newspaper articles in Reading and Albright campus media, surrounds claims in his resume and his representations to the search committee and the Albright faculty during the presidential search early in 1999.

In his resume, Col Zimon claims authorship of two books: Reshaping US National Security Strategy and CFE: The Making of the Treaty. Col Zimon claimed that the first book was being published by Praeger in 1998-1999, but the publisher denied that it is, or ever was, publishing the book. Col Zimon claimed that he was co-editing the second book with former CIA Director James Woolsey, but this book is bogus as well. Woolsey told the Chronicle, "I know nothing about the book" and even Col Zimon acknowledged that he had not discussed the book with Woolsey in the previous seven years. To this day, five years later, neither book -- both of which Zimon claimed were forthcoming in 1999 -- has been published.

Col Zimon also falsely claimed that he had taught "seminars" at Harvard University's Kennedy School and that he held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard's Kennedy and business schools. Harvard officials denied that he ever taught there. He also faked membership on the board of MIT's Center for International Studies, a board that simply does not exist.

Col Zimon even exaggerated his military background, claiming that he was sole signatory on army checks in the millions of dollars; that he had oversight responsibility of the army's educational system, and that he had authored nearly half a dozen treaties. Freedom of Information inquiries to the army disclose that he signed no checks and authored no documents relating to treaties or the educational system.

Col Zimon perpetuated perhaps one of the biggest cons in academe in recent years and most surely at the level of a college president. Indeed a Chemistry ethics course CHM 3500 at Northeastern University actually uses Zimonís resume as a textbook example of academic dishonesty.

Notwithstanding widespread distress among students, faculty members and college alumni, the college's Board of Trustees, in egregious violation of their fiduciary responsibilities, blocked an investigation, declaring soon after the allegations were publicly exposed that they had complete confidence in Col Zimon and consider the matter closed. Subsequently, the Albright faculty passed a resolution censuring Zimon for his academic misconduct.

But the trustees could not forever force down the lid on Zimonís lies. A consultantsí panel of six current and former college presidents, led by James L Fisher, former president of Towson University, which the trustees constituted in the Fall to review the institution, identified Col Zimon as the single biggest impediment to institutional development, both among internal and external constituents. Indeed, the college had to put off its capital campaign because of nagging public questions about Zimonís academic dishonesty. Faced with the inevitability of being fired, Col Zimon took the step he should have taken four years earlier in October 1999, when the Chronicle first exposed his academic fraud, and resigned, effective immediately.

The ouster of a nationally disgraced president, although long in coming, will now allow the institution to attempt to rebuild after the enormous damage Col Zimon inflicted and to restore its severely tarnished reputation. Regrettably, however, Board Chairman Salvatore M Cutrona and other trustees who stone walled an investigation into Zimonís credentials, have yet to acknowledge their culpability in this debacle. Hopefully, the selection of the new president will not be marred by the irresponsibility and incompetence that characterized Col Zimonís selection by the search committee, which Mr Cutrona chaired, and whose failures he sought to protect, by resisting a public investigation of Col Zimonís duplicity and mendacity. Mr Cutrona has thus far refused to publicly release the consultantís report; hopefully the report will find its way into the public domain as well and Col Cutrona will step down from the Albright College board.

Col Zimon and his cronies on the administration and the board also sought to harass and initimidate faculty members who sought to hold Col Zimon accountable for his academic dishonesty. Almost a half dozen faculty members quit the institution. Col Zimon even sought to fire a tenured faculty member who was publicly exposing his academic fraud, but was forced to drop the farce in the face of a national furor. This year he and the board denied tenure to a religious studies professor who had been a vocal critic of Zimon, Roxanne Gupta, even though she had been unanimously approved for tenure by the Rank & Tenure Committee and her department. She even prevailed in a college appeals proceeding, but the board refused to relent. Gupta is now planning to sue the college citing retaliatory conduct and violation of the stateís whistle blower laws.

Even in his ignominious departure, Col Zimon continues to make fanciful and exaggerated claims about his performance at the college, such as, for instance, in fundraising. In fact, the market value of Albright Collegeís endowment, on June 20, 2003, was $31.7 million, down 5.3% from June 30, 2002, when it stood at $33.5 million. Furthermore, IRS data shows that fundraising at the college in 2002 (the last year for which data is available from the IRS) and 1999 (the year before Zimon assumed the presidency) declined by almost 25%:

June 1-May 31 Direct Public Support
1998-1999 $2,958,596 (Pre Zimon)
2001-2002 $2,275,960 (Zimon Year 3)
(Data drawn from IRS 990).

Even more outrageously, the college almost doubled its expenses on fundraising from $700,000 in 1999, before Zimon, to $1.3 million in 2001-2002. The college raised $4 for every $1 spent on fundraising before Zimon. Today it raises only about $2 for every $1 spent. Net revenue (contributions minus fundraising expenses) fell from $2.25 million in 1999 to just $900,000 in 2002, down almost two-thirds!

Col Zimonís ouster from Albright College is a vindication of truth, academic freedom, and academic integrity, which have been imperilled at the institutions these past four years. At the Zimon is a Fraud website, we propose to continue to be vigilant, lest Col Zimon try to foist himself on another unsuspecting academic institution.

Here are some links on the Zimon Controversy

Chronicle of Higher Education
4 Years After Scandal, A President Steps Down
http://chronicle.com/free/v50/i26/26a02301.htm

Associated Press on Zimon Resignation
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=
11003570&BRD=2212&PAG=461&dept_id=465812&rfi=6

Chronicle Expose on Zimon's Academic Dishonesty
http://zimonisafraud.com/questions.htm

Zimon's Disputed Resume
http://zimonisafraud.com/disputedresume.htm

Resume Excerpts in Dispute
http://zimonisafraud.com/excerpts.htm

Albright Faculty Censures Zimon
http://zimonisafraud.com/censure.htm

Trustee Resigns
http://zimonisafraud.com/resignation.htm

Dartmouth Review
http://www.dartreview.com/archives/2001/11/12/
a_presidential_controversy_at_albright.php

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/112.html

Bakersfield College Controversy 2005
http://www.kget.com/news/local/story.aspx?content
_id=2584FB2C-779C-48D2-8C58-9440661EAC5C

Glenville State College Controversy 2006
http://www.hurherald.com/cgi-sys/db_scripts/articles/articles?Action=user_view&db=articles_hurherald&id=18085

Roane County School Director Controversy 2005
http://www.roanecounty.com/articles/2005/04/13/news/news01.txt



 
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