Bergen Community College Faculty Union & Professor Accused of Grade Fixing

by admin on May 21, 2012

Bergen Community College Grade FixingBergen Community College math teacher and faculty union president Peter Helff has been suspended over allegations that he used his position and influence to alter his granddaughter’s grades. Former Superior court judge Ross Anzaldi was hired to oversee the investigation. After five months of research and interviewing witnesses, the school trustees suspended Helff indefinitely without pay. Helff has been at the New Jersey college for over 40 years and he makes more than $100,000 a year.

Lawyer Robert Fagella, representing Helff as his legal council, states that Hellf has been unjustly targeted and that the school trustees “are going to be in for a real fight.”

The head of the board’s personnel committee Malcolm Curtis responded by stating that Helff clearly violated school procedure for personal gain.

Fagella has countered by saying that he has been denied a copy of the official report, making it impossible to construct a proper defense for his client. Attorney John Schepisi, speaking on behalf of the school trustees, countered by saying the report would be available within the next few days.

Helff is accused of using his influence to request that colleagues alter his granddaughter’s grades in 2010 to improve her academic standing. Helff claims that his granddaughter had been given a failing grade in error after falling ill and dropping out of a class. Helff allegedly misled another employee into thinking he had the authorization to alter the failing grade into a “W,” which denotes that a student dropped out of a class. A “W” does not affect a student’s GPA. Helff claims the paperwork proving his innocence went missing once the school board started investigating him.

““I’ve been here 42 years and I’ve been a target for most of them,” Helff said.

The scandal and resulting investigation have already altered the college’s procedures for both record keeping and grade-change authorization.

The investigation into Helff has been an expensive one for the university, with Anzaldi getting paid more than $15,000 after billing the school at a rate of $300 per hour. Helff’s lawyer Fagella was hired by the New Jersey Education Association, a New Jersey teacher’s union.

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