Montana State University Sued After Firing Professor For “Insect-Collecting” Misconduct

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Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

A former professor sued Montana State University in September after the school fired him for allegedly violating its research misconduct policy regarding obtaining permits for insect gathering in Peru.

Ryan Jones alleges this, along with the university’s abuse of one-year contracts to obtain the labor of hundreds of its staff, in a lawsuit filed with Gallatin County District Court, according to Bozeman Daily Chronicle and documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The most egregious action by MSU has been their willful disregard to my rights to due process,” Jones told TheDCNF. “MSU did not follow any of their policies regarding allegations of research misconduct.”

Jones asserted that he was entitled to an independent investigator for his research misconduct case and that the university did not grant him a chance to address the allegations. He noted that, while the Department of Agriculture said he should have had a permit for his research, it could still grant him one, the USDA did not need to investigate him, and his samples did not need to be destroyed.

When MSU fired Jones, the researcher filed an internal grievance and obtained a December 2016 hearing date. The university agreed to Jones’s request for a hearing open to the public, but he alleges that MSU shut down the hearing after a reporter arrived to cover it. He also asserts that the university subsequently refused to hold a hearing unless it was closed to the public.

“This completely contradicts the policy governing the hearing, which states that any person can request a transcript or taping of the hearing — thus no right to privacy should be expected,” Jones told TheDCNF.

MSU spokesman Michael Becker declined to provide comment, citing the school’s policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

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