Sep 072006
 
Authors: Vimal Patel

For the second time in a year, a CSU department head is under investigation for “financial issues.”

Jeffrey Wilusz, chair of the Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology Department, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a police investigation into “department financial issues,” according to university spokeswoman Dell Rae Moellenberg.

Department staffers Janice Riegel and Esta Saffer were also placed on administrative leave, Moellenberg said.

Riegel is an assistant to Wilusz, and Saffer is the office manager for the Pathology Facility, according to the MIP Web site.

Because the investigation is ongoing, university officials could not provide any more details, Moellenberg said.

No charges have been filed at the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office, said spokeswoman Linda Jensen.

Wilusz was contacted but declined to comment.

The CSU Police Department is in charge of the investigation.

The investigation may be pending for a while as the investigator on the case, Mark Childress, suffered a minor heart attack on Wednesday, a CSUPD official said.

Childress underwent surgery Wednesday and is set to undergo another surgery in the next two weeks, the official said.

Microbiology department staffers were also unaware of the details of the charges. University officials informed staffers about the move last week, professors in the department said.

“This has been a surprise and we’re all hoping for a positive resolution,” said Daniel Gould, associate department head for Professional Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Science. “A lot of people’s jobs have had to adapt to keep the activities going for the department, but we have a diversified faculty that’s keeping things going.”

Charles Davidshofer, a staff psychologist at the University Counseling Center, was director of the center until he resigned over the summer following charges of official misconduct.

Davidshofer was accused of allowing a culture to fester in which a former staffer, Reva Jeanette Miles, stole $17,000 in cash from the department over a number of years.

The former director is currently in “transitional retirement” and is set to end his decades-long career at CSU later this year. He’s set to appear in court Oct. 5 for the official misconduct misdemeanor charge.

Wilusz, who received his doctorate from Duke University, is technically on “special leave” – a distinction made because he is a tenured faculty member. But functionally, his leave is the same as those placed on “administrative leave.” All three employees have been on paid leave since Aug. 30.

The MIP department boasts some of the finest biomedical research centers in the nation, according to its Web site.

As of Thursday night it was unclear who was acting head of the MIP department, or whether there was one.

News managing editor Vimal Patel can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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