You can bet it’s not the news the faculty and staff were hoping for in the first week of operation of the new East Carolina University (ECU) Dental School. Dr James Hupp, Dean of the new Dental School at ECU resigned yesterday following the release of a state audit of the ECU Dental school. The audit raised questions about Hupp’s failure to follow travel reporting requirements and policies regarding the reporting of outside income. The report found Hupp attended a conference in South Carolina where the majority of the trip did not appear to be training related, changed travel arrangements after they were approved and made a questionable trip to Europe where a dental equipment manufacturer paid for hotel and transportation costs — a clear conflict of interest. Hupp says the purpose of the European trip was to evaluate dental simulators and cabinetry for the new schools. ECU officials say a plan was already in place – even before trip plans were made — to have European and other vendors visit ECU to allow faculty tp evaluate equipment on site.
Hupp’s excursions were clearly raising eye brows on the ECU campus before the audit report was released. It appears the Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences, Phyllis Horns was monitoring Hupp’s travel and time away from the ECU campus. Email correspondence between Hupp and the Vice Chancellor revealed clear concerns about accepting vendor paid travel and an emphasis on reducing “travel expenditures from state dollars, specifically out of state travel.”
ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard announced Hupp’s resignation at a Tuesday press conference. Ballard acknowledged the release of the state auditor’s report as well as Hupp’s failure to comply with travel and outside income reporting requirements. Hupp received additional income for a part-time teaching position and for serving as an editor of an academic journal
Hupp joined ECU as first dean of the Dental School in 2008. Ballard said he will remain on the ECU faculty.