Moshe Porat, the former dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, requested a pause in his civil case against Temple on March 23 after the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania expressed intention to indict him for his alleged role in falsifying Fox’s rankings submissions to U.S. News and World Report, according to court documents filed by Porat’s attorney.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently notified Porat’s lawyers of the “imminent criminal charges,” according to the documents. Porat is asking for a stay in his civil case until the criminal case is resolved, because the result of the criminal case would “sharpen the issues” in the civil case or eliminate the need for it.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania declined to comment on the indictment.
Rahul Munshi, Porat’s lawyer, was not immediately available for comment.
Fox’s online Master of Business Administration program was ranked number one nationwide by U.S. News and World Report from 2014 to 2018 before being stripped of its rank for having “significantly overstated” its data, The Temple News reported.
Jones Day, an independent law firm hired by Temple, found the college’s administrators had falsified graduate standardized test scores, undergraduate students’ GPAs, its number of offers to applicants and amount of students’ debts, The Temple News reported.
The report alleged Porat disbanded a committee that oversaw Fox’s data reporting, The Temple News reported. President Richard Englert asked Porat to resign on July 9, 2018, for his part in the scandal.
Porat sued Temple in May 2019 for $25 million, alleging damage to his health and reputation, The Temple News reported.
Porat believes Temple is making him a “scapegoat for the rankings scandal,” according to the court documents.
Temple has been transparent with its actions regarding the scandal and tried to protect the interests of its students, alumni, donors and the university, wrote Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.
“Temple has implemented a robust host of practices to ensure that data misreporting to ranking bodies will not occur again,” Betzner wrote. “These measures include establishing an internal Data Verification Unit overseeing the entire university’s data submissions, facilitating reporting of malfeasance through online and telephone hotlines, retaining a third-party auditor for data submissions and increased training, among many other measures.”
In December 2020, Temple agreed to pay $700,000 to the U.S. Department of Education to settle claims regarding the misreported data, The Temple News reported.