Moshe Porat v. Temple University

Longtime Dean of Fox School of Business Moshe Porat files defamation lawsuit against Temple University

Temple Administrators Issued Multiple False Press Statements to Make Dr. Porat the Public Scapegoat of Temple’s Rankings-Data Scandal

Temple Deflected Media Attention Away From The University’s Own Role In The Submission of Inaccurate Data

Dr. Moshe Porat
Dr. Moshe Porat

PHILADELPHIA (May 2, 2019) – The longtime Dean of the Temple University Fox School of Business today announced he has filed a defamation lawsuit against Temple University and President Richard Englert. The lawsuit comes after the University issued public statements in 2018 falsely claiming that Dr. Porat “knowingly provided false information” and was “removed” for “falsifying data” to college rankings organizations.  The complaint details how the University made these damaging false statements with reckless disregard of the available evidence, the conclusions of its own “independent” investigation, and scores of internal documents confirming the falsity of its statements. The lawsuit also details publicly, for the first time, the University’s own role in the submission of inaccurate data – and how the University’s repeated institutional failings were deliberately hidden from the public in statements scapegoating Dr. Porat.

“Our M.B.A. students at the Fox School deserved better,” said Dr. Porat, in his first public comments since being removed as Dean by Temple in July 2018. “They made decisions to attend our University, based in part on ranking data they thought to be accurate. Our students are the real victims here. They deserved the truth, and the University let them down.

“But I also deserve to have the truth told about what happened, and the University has let me down, too. The Administration took away the job I loved, damaged my health, destroyed my reputation and the legacy of my life’s work I spent decades building. Temple leadership did this with a false narrative invented for its expediency in public relations – and to deflect attention from the University’s own role in all of this.

“I had hoped this day would never come, and it genuinely pains me to take this step. I love Temple and the Fox School, and I believe deeply in their mission. Until now, I resisted legal action and have tried to negotiate in good faith and reach an honorable resolution with the University I worked so hard for most of my life. But Temple has continually misled the public, refused to do the right thing and has not set the record straight, leaving me no other choice.

“I accept that leaders must take responsibility for the actions of others that occurred on their watch. But it is reckless and irresponsible for the University administration to promote a demonstrably false narrative that I personally engaged in intentional misconduct, or some breach of integrity or ethics on my part, when the facts and documents show otherwise.”

Dr. Porat, who had worked at Temple for 43 years – and as dean for the last 22 years – is bringing this action not only to vindicate his rights, but to set the record straight. If successful with his lawsuit, Dean Porat intends to give a significant gift to the student-focused Center for Student Professional Development at the Fox School of Business, which he personally envisioned, formed, and has seen flourish.

Among the key facts Temple hid from the public:

  • When Fox employees first brought to his attention that rankings data were possibly incorrect, Dr. Porat himself immediately made the decision to alert S. News and University officials.
  • With the approval of Temple’s Provost, Dr. Porat temporarily removed the Fox School of Business from other rankings and fully restructured the ranking oversight process.
  • Since 2014, University leaders have required all Temple schools, including Fox, to submit all proposed rankings data to a University-wide office, reporting to the Provost, known as Temple’s Institutional Research and Assessment (IRA). The IRA was required to audit the rankings data submitted by all Temple schools and had the ultimate responsibility of verifying data accuracy.

“Temple administrators absolutely knew that Dr. Porat did not knowingly provide false information to rankings agencies or falsify any data,” said Tom Clare, partner with Clare Locke LLP, Dean Porat’s defamation attorney. “The University recklessly disregarded internal emails and statements from numerous witnesses in its possession directly contradicting its press releases and the false conclusions the University wanted the public to reach about Dr. Porat. The evidence cited in our complaint supports only one conclusion: that the one Fox employee responsible for gathering and submitting the rankings data acted without Dr. Porat’s knowledge or approval – and in direct violation of Dr. Porat’s repeated written and verbal instructions over several years to all involved to submit data that was 100% accurate.”

The lawsuit, in the amount of $25 million, does not address the breach of Dr. Porat’s employment contract with Temple. This will be addressed at a later time. The complaint was filed today in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia and can be found here.

Media Contact:

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Arvind V. Phatak, Ph.D.

Carnell Professor of Strategic Management and International Business Emeritus, Fox School of Business

Moshe is known as one of the best business school deans in the globally dispersed business school community. In 2001, he received the very prestigious International Dean of the Year Award from the Academy of International Business following a vigorous competition among Deans of Business Schools in all five continents. I have some understanding of the process that culminated in the termination of the Fox School Dean. This event, as it unfolded, fits perfectly the dictionary definition of “ambush”. Simply put Moshe Porat was ambushed. It is truly regrettable that a person who was “our” very respected colleague, one who has made significant and valued improvements to the Fox School, and to Temple University, was treated so shabbily.

Paul Silberberg

Chairman & CEO, Concierge Insurance Solutions; Adjunct Professor at Fox School

I have known Moshe for a long time, who I know to have the utmost integrity, which has now been unfairly impeached by the University administration. I ask you to lead the Board to correct this injustice. My course – and the book I wrote – are about the intersection of leadership, entrepreneurship and ethics. I believe Moshe is an icon of all three. However, I’m concerned that the current President and Provost have unfairly defamed Moshe’s name. I hope the Board will cure this injustice.

Harith Wickrema

President, Harith Productions LTD; Fox School Graduate

I am writing with grave concern for the immediate future of the Fox School, in support of Dr. Moshe Porat and to express my profound dismay at his dismissal. The absence of sufficient due process, lack of transparency and continued imbalanced and damaging media releases not only harm Dr. Porat personally, but also harm the reputation of the Fox and Hospitality schools as well as Temple University as a whole. I urge the Board to find a resolution to this appalling state of affairs. The sooner you do so, the more probable it is that those who love Temple, like me, will reengage. But should it continue, damage to the university will become irreparable in terms of students, faculty and donors. It will be understood that the university does not value people who have been loyal for a lifetime; that such leaders and institutional builders can be discarded for mere politics and false narratives.

Irwin Gross

Temple ‘65; Member, Dean’s Advisory Council, Fox School of Business

To be honest, I felt that this was not only poorly handled but a disgrace. Firing him, ruining his reputation, ruining the school’s reputation, is unbelievably irresponsible. I am upset, I am disappointed and even more than that disgusted. I don’t know how I can be part of the Temple family after this. The Board of Trustees should do the right thing and give the Dean the honor and respect that he so well deserves.

Michael R. Powers, Ph.D.

Zurich Group Professor of Risk Mathematics in Tsinghua University, China; Former Fox School Professor

The precipitous nature of Dean Porat’s departure has damaged not only his personal reputation, but also the institutional reputations of the Fox School and Temple University as a whole.

Mark Blaskey

Partner, Pepper Hamilton; Temple Business School and Law School Graduate; Former Chair, Planned Giving Council at Temple

I was and continue to be outraged about the way in which the dismissal was handled. Moshe was a dedicated and tenured member of the Temple faculty and administration for decades. He restored the business school to honor and distinction, a distinction I wish it had when I attended. He also achieved amazing success in raising funds, not only for the business school, but for the entire University.

Jagbir Singh

Professor Emeritus, Statistical Science, Temple University

Temple’s actions have blemished the reputation of a fine dean who put the Business school the proverbial map, creating necessary facilities to confer an excellent education to its students. No price tag can be attached to the losses resulting from the short sighted and impetuous decision taken by the University President. It is my hope that, at a minimum, the University will apologize publicly and unconditionally.

Dr. Raza Bokhari

Managing Partner, RBx Capital; Temple Executive MBA ‘01

The data falsification scandal was overdramatized, Bokhari said, but he was disappointed by how the university treated Porat, who is one of his close friends. “I think there was dramatic and drastic actions taken that were abrupt,” said Bokhari. “Any time that actions are taken without taking stakeholders into confidence, it is an intuitive reaction to pause. I have paused.”

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