Panel: Bresch didn't earn M.B.A.

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A five-member panel has concluded unanimously that Mylan Inc. executive Heather Bresch, daughter of West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, did not earn an M.B.A. degree from West Virginia University and that administrators acted improperly in granting her the degree retroactively in October, according to a person familiar with the report.

The panel's report, three months in the making, was delivered to WVU Provost Gerald Lang yesterday. It has not been released publicly.

WVU Board of Governors Chairman Steve Goodwin said in a statement late today that board members were reviewing the report and would meet at 1 p.m. tomorrow to discuss it, after which the findings "will be made public."

It is not known how much of the report will be released. Mr. Lang has indicated the findings would be edited in accordance with privacy rules before being shared with the board and faculty senate.

Ms. Bresch, a family friend and former business associate of WVU President Michael Garrison, has insisted she earned the graduate business degree in December 1998.

Calls to Mylan headquarters and Gov. Manchin's office were not returned.

The investigative panel, consisting of two WVU professors and three professors from outside the state, was formed in the wake of a Dec. 21 Post-Gazette story that raised questions about how university officials went about granting the degree in October, nearly 10 years after Ms. Bresch left the program, despite official records that showed she was 22 credits short.

The newspaper's review of university records found that after the decision was made, WVU officials added 22 credits to Ms. Bresch's transcript, nearly half of the 48 credits the degree required. The changes included adding six courses, with grades, that previously were not on her record and changing two course "incompletes" to letter grades. The newspaper found the changes were made without documents showing she had registered, paid or done the work for the classes.

Since the Dec. 21 story, WVU officials have offered various, often contradictory, explanations of how they made the decision -- including acknowledgments by Mr. Lang and business school Dean R. Stephen Sears that they lacked the records to show Ms. Bresch completed the degree.

This month, Ms. Bresch told other news media outlets she made arrangements in September 1998 with WVU finance professor Paul Speaker, then head of the M.B.A. program, to substitute work experience for 10 credits she needed to graduate. WVU records indicated she needed 22 credits at the time.

Mr. Speaker has declined to talk specifically about Ms. Bresch, citing federal privacy rules on students records. But he has said he could not recall any instance in the history of the program when the school allowed work experience to substitute for course work.

Ms. Bresch has told university officials they do not have her permission to release to the public any information that is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, sources told the Post-Gazette.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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