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Texas Tech Health Sciences Center professor Rodney Hicks accused of viewing pornographic material online

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
July 4, 2010
A Texas Tech Health Sciences Center professor accused of viewing pornographic material online is under investigation and has lost a prestigious endowed chair, Tech officials confirm.

Rodney “Rod” Hicks, a professor of nursing, is the subject of a Texas Tech Police Department investigation. The front page of the investigation — the only information released by police — lists “inappropriate internet instant messages” as cause for the investigation.

Tech Police Col. Kenny Evans declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, as have Tech and HSC offiicials.

However, a source close to Tech and HSC administration told The Avalanche-Journal Thursday the incidents happened shortly after Hicks led an online class. After the session ended, the professor apparently failed to log out. Students allegedly saw him view pornography — some of which is believed to have contained children — and alerted authorities, the source said.

Hicks lost his funding last week, officials at University Medical Center confirmed. UMC sponsors the $1 million endowed chair in Patient Safety, which Hicks held since 2008.

Health Sciences Center officials have not confirmed whether the incident cost Hicks the chair, and have declined multiple times to answer Avalanche-Journal questions about the issue.

“This is a personnel matter and TTUHSC is unable to comment,” said Mary Croyle, director of communications and marketing.

Calls to Hicks’ office went unanswered and a request for comment to his HSC e-mail was returned as undeliverable. A second e-mail request went unanswered Thursday.

HSC President Tedd Mitchell declined comment, and Chandice Covington, interim dean of the nursing school, did not return A-J calls Thursday.
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