Wheeling Jesuit University acknowledged Wednesday it’s cooperating with federal investigators who seized records from the offices of J. Davitt McAteer, the school’s vice president for federally sponsored research programs and a prominent critic of the coal mining industry.
The files were removed Feb. 15, but spokeswoman Michelle Rejonis said she didn’t know which federal agency was involved.
Wheeling Jesuit has many federally sponsored programs, including collaborations with NASA and a center that helps commercialize new technologies, Rejonis said, so it works with several agencies. Many of those agencies have an Office of Inspector General, an entity that investigates fraud, waste and abuse.
Rejonis would not discuss the investigation further except to say that it does not affect Pell Grants or other federal assistance to the school’s 1,500 students.
McAteer’s secretary said he would not comment on the investigation and referred calls to the university.
McAteer, a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit, has been a vice president of the Northern Panhandle school since 2005. He’s also director of its National Technology Transfer Center and its Erma Ora Byrd Center for Education Technologies.
The NTTC does work on mine safety and health, missile defense, health technology and small business partnerships. The Center for Educational Technologies has housed the NASA-sponsored “Classroom of the Future” program since 1990.
From 1992 to 2000, McAteer was head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, and he has been a vocal critic of the coal mining industry since leaving. [more]