What went wrong? BGSU professor loses job over “erotic literature”

According to a recent Ohio Inspector General report, Alan Atalah, a professor and associate dean at Bowling Green State University, was investigated after “erotic literature” was found on his state-owned computer. Atalah, who was engaged in a research project with the Ohio Department of Transportation, mistakenly submitted a USB drive containing lewd files to ODOT as an attachment to his research report. Not surprisingly, a review of Atalah’s computer subsequently occurred.

After investigation by BGSU Police and the FBI, the content of the literature found on Atalah’s state-owned computer was not considered illegal. However, he did violate the policies regarding the proper use of a public-owned device and ethics laws prohibiting conducting private business on the government’s time. Although he escaped criminal charges related to the pornography, Atalah was dismissed from his position at the university.  

The moral of this story is evident: don’t conduct “personal business” using public resources.  And absolutely don’t attach evidence of your activity to an official report that you send to the state. 

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