Sylvia Nasar is suing Columbia

A tenured professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and co-director of that school’s business program filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing the university of misdirecting $4.5 million in funds over the last decade.

The professor, Sylvia Nasar, who is the John S. and James L. Knight professor of business journalism at Columbia and the author of the book “A Beautiful Mind,” which inspired the movie of the same name, charges in the suit that the university mishandled funds from a $1.5 million endowment provided by the Knight Foundation to improve the school’s teaching of business journalism.

The full story is here, but here is a bit more:

Terms of the agreement called for Columbia to pay the professorship’s salary on its own, and use foundation funds for additional salary and benefits, like research…

In 2000, the university hired Ms. Nasar…According to the lawsuit she was given a base salary, which the university paid for out of Knight Foundation funds, and was asked to pay most of her additional expenses out of her own pocket.

Ms. Nasar said in the suit that over time she spent $174,000 of her own money for research and other expenses. She is asking for punitive damages.

Ms. Nasar said in an interview that in September 2010 she had received an e-mail from the university listing more than $70,000 in what she described as “phantom I.T. charges” — expenses attributed to her that she says she never incurred.


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