VESTAL, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Binghamton University has paid a former dean $1.5 million after a judge ruled that the school had refused to return his equipment and other materials to him.
Seshubabu Desu is the former Dean of the Watson School of Engineering and Director of BU’s Center for Autonomous Solar Power or CASP.
Desu sued the university in 2020, accusing them of stealing equipment, supplies and research notes that he had brought with him to the school.
In her ruling following the liability trial, Court of Claims Judge Catherine Schaewe issued a strong rebuke to school administrators, questioning the credibility of their testimony and harshly criticizing them for not allowing Desu a supervised visit to his former offices to retrieve documents that could help him prove his ownership of the equipment.
Schaewe called it sheer effrontery for BU to require Desu to submit proof of his ownership while denying him access to that proof.
Desu says his battle with BU began when he resisted the reallocation of $8 million in research funding for CASP that he had secured.
Desu claims the university also sought to silence him when he criticized Harpur College for running up large deficits.
The former Dean says BU then concocted a bogus charge of falsifying business records related to a $400 travel expense that led to him resigning.
The Broome County District Attorney would later drop that charge.
Desu says that when he resigned, he was promised by university officials that he would be allowed to retrieve his possessions, but that never happened.
He says administrators lied under oath.
“I feel really sad that they can do such a heinous thing to somebody who has been good for them. Actually, in the long run, it’s not good for the university itself.”
Prior to the start of a damages trial, the university agreed to pay Desu $1.5 million.
He says it’s only a fraction of the overall worth of his lost intellectual property which he values at over $8 million.
NewsChannel 34 made repeated attempts to get a comment from the university to no avail.