Popular engineering professor reinstated

October 7, 2008 8:22:31 AM PDT
One of two tenured engineering professors suspended from the University of Texas at San Antonio for allegedly violating the school's ethics policy said he has been reinstated and will return to work this week. Last week, on the eve of a faculty tribunal hearing, the school dropped its case against Alberto Arroyo and gave him his job back.

"I am in heaven. I am alive again," Arroyo said in a story in the San Antonio Express-News. "Finally, somebody put the file together and read it and said, `We are going to hang an innocent man."'

UTSA officials are proceeding with their case against the other professor, Chia Shun "Rocky" Shih. He appealed his firing to a faculty tribunal, which heard his case last week and will send its conclusions to University of Texas System regents for a final decision.

As for droppings their case against Arroyo, university officials said only that it was best for the students and the university.

Arroyo and Shih were suspended without pay earlier this year as the school began termination proceedings against both men. Shih has been at the university since 1974; Arroyo has been there since 1982.

The university's ethics investigation focused on a land deal in which several people, including Shih and Arroyo, bought 33 acres near Helotes. The land, proposed as a park by the city of Helotes, had been the topic of a semester-long student project in Shih's class.

UTSA's ethics policy "prohibits faculty or staff from making personal investments which could reasonably create a substantial conflict between the employee's private interests and the public interests."

Shih has denied his students did a project involving the property but rather just proposed it. Arroyo has said he found out about the property by looking at parcels in the area.

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