Few faculty knew of Bryant’s status
Angela Delli Santi, Associated Press
POSTED: Wednesday, April 4, 2007, 3:01 AM
TRENTON – Few professors at Rutgers University-Camden knew that State Sen. Wayne Bryant was a part-time instructor there for five years, and most told the FBI they never asked him to teach their classes because they didn’t know he was on the payroll.
Of 125 academics who responded to an inquiry from a college administrator collecting data for the FBI on Bryant’s work history, only two said the senator lectured in their classes in the years he was paid as an adjunct professor, according to the responses obtained by the Associated Press through the Open Public Records Act.
Bryant, 59, was indicted last week on fraud, corruption and pension-padding charges. He and codefendant R. Michael Gallagher, a former dean at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey who is charged with fraud, made their initial court appearances yesterday.
The indictment charges that Bryant traded on his powerful post as head of the Senate budget committee by looking out for the financial interests of UMDNJ in exchange for a no-show job. It accuses the senator of tripling his taxpayer-funded pension through the UMDNJ job and similar arrangements at the Rutgers-Camden Law School and Gloucester County Board of Social Services.
Bryant’s lawyer, Carl Poplar, has not returned repeated calls for comment.
Rugters hired Bryant in the fall of 2002 as a “distinguished adjunct professor of law and public affairs,” said Rutgers-Camden spokesman Michael Sepanic. Earlier that year, he helped pass legislation providing funding for an $11 million expansion of the Camden campus.
Bryant was supposed to help the law school recruit minority students and to lecture in law, political science and public administration.
He was paid $130,126 before his position was eliminated in 2006, though there is evidence that he did little work.
Only two professors who responded to the e-mail inquiry said Bryant lectured for them from 2004 to 2006. According to the professors, Bryant completed a total of six graduate-level lectures.
Two others said Bryant had come to their classes long before he was employed by the school. One remembered Bryant giving a lecture on welfare reform in 1990, but said the talk “wasn’t a particularly memorable performance, and I never invited him back.” Another said Bryant spoke free at a public policy colloquium sometime before 2002.
Most of the other professors who answered the associate provost’s e-mail claimed not to have known Bryant was employed by Rutgers-Camden or that he was available to guest-lecture until reading recent news accounts of the federal investigation.
“I heard he was being paid but was not doing any work because he had helped secure funding for Rutgers-Camden,” wrote one faculty member. “I heard this from several people at the law school.”
Several of the respondents said they had been interviewed by FBI agents, and a few scolded the school.
“I still haven’t heard anything official from the school,” one said.
“This is a terrible embarrassment to Rutgers,” another said.
Angela Delli Santi