Termination hearings are underway against an associate geology professor caught collecting child pornography on his computer at Eastern Washington University.
Russell C. Boggs, 42, was suspended in July after searches of his office and home turned up computer disks containing pictures of naked girls, some of a sexual nature, authorities said.
A five-member faculty committee met behind closed doors last week to hear preliminary evidence against Boggs.
The committee is expected to submit a recommendation to President Mark Drummond on whether a full public hearing should be held. The hearings could result in Boggs’ dismissal from his tenured position.
He has been at the university for 13 years.
Boggs refused comment when reached by telephone.
Professor Robert Morgenstern, a member of the committee, said the hearings are part of a firing process outlined in the faculty’s contract with the university.
Morgenstern, the incoming president of the Faculty Senate, said the geology department was having problems with Boggs’ performance prior to the discovery of his pornography collection in June.
Boggs has been the subject of a number of complaints by his students and has a history of missing class sessions, Morgenstern said. Boggs also is in trouble for misuse of the university’s equipment, he said.
Professor Linda McCollum, chairwoman of the geology department, described the discovery of the photos as the “last straw.”
“It has been an ongoing problem, and the department has been dissatisfied with his performance,” McCollum said. “This is not something we normally do.”
About 10 years ago another professor resigned his job after a dismissal hearing was planned.
A separate criminal investigation against Boggs continues, said Lt. Vic Wallace of the university police department.
Wallace said police will work with the county prosecutor’s office, and the prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges. He said that could take several months.
According to documents filed in connection with the searches of Boggs’ office and home, authorities believe he has collected about 4,000 individual files of pornographic material.
Investigators reproduced some of the computerized photos, including 28 pictures of nude girls between three and 17 years old. Some included teenage girls involved in sex acts.
Peggy-Lynn Boggs, the professor’s wife, said her husband collected the images to help her research project into erotic literature as a graduate student at EWU.
University records show Peggy-Lynn Boggs has not attended classes since June 1994, said Stephanie Pettit, an EWU spokeswoman.