Higher ed is a tricky business. A swamp, in many ways, particularly when you are talking about state institutions. Not to excuse UNC, because really in this case I don’t see much excuse for their actions, but I’m sure they are dealing with whatever governing body (Regents, chancellor, whatever NC uses) rides herd on them, alumni as individuals and groups that provide lots of money, state politicians, etc. all beating on them simultaneously. Regrettable, but not unexpected, that they would cave.
And Municipal Broadband was the very first thing the Republicans went after once they took over in 2011.
I could see that for sure, and UNC is a state institution, with the good and bad that comes with that. That being said, one particular member of the BOT seems to be the leading dissenter that put his nose into business he should have no say in:
That’s one of the downsides to development (that is, fund raising) at a college or university. The donors–which is how you get your name on the J-school, of course, and donation in a big way–sometimes have more influence than they should, or than is technically allowed.
Though not from donations, but many times from investment, executive boards suffer from bad influencers at times as well. It is what it is. It sounds like the school is reviewing their decision.
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Please start a new thread.
Is my command.
One million so-called ‘software engineers’ lawyer up.
If My Cousin Vinny taught me anything, it’s that they could have proved his expertise by asking a bullshit question in front of the jury regarding his expertise.
In seriousness, there are courts that have ruled that expert witnesses are not required to have degrees or even certifications so long at they can prove expertise in their field and current use. This is outside of the Board of Examiners decision though, so I wish him luck. What he has going for him is that a lot of engineers are unlicensed.
I have long thought that the end game of IT fields will be this same path: licensing or some sort of federal or state certification. Yes I know it would take some crazy agreements by people to get to that point, but I can see it unofficially already. Jobs in the past required nothing but you telling them your expertise. Jobs today require a degree and many want vendor certifications. My guess is that if I ever testify in court regarding something in the way of IT networking or security, I’d be asked for my certifications and degrees. The same for any expert, really.
It’s pretty easy for licensing boards to become irrelevant without enforcement. Push comes to shove the state licensing board isn’t going to rule against itself in allowing “practicing” of trades in its jurisdiction. It’s probably true that one doesn’t have to be an expert, but this is just (one would think) SOP in defense rejecting the expertise of an expert witness called.
There was a lot of sturm and drang about a Geology licensing board in Texas several years ago - the idea being that if a geologist working for an oil company doesn’t find oil, he could potentially be sued for malpractice or incompetence.
I would be surprised to learn that attempting to be an expert witness in a trial is ‘practicing’ a trade, especially when you, yourself, make it clear that you don’t have a license.
In his deposition, Wayne testified truthfully that he was not (and never had been) a licensed engineer. In fact, like the majority of engineers nationwide, Wayne was not required to get a license since he worked for a company under the state’s “industrial exception.” Instead of saying Wayne’s testimony was wrong, the defendants said it was illegal—because Wayne did not have a license to express these opinions. Astoundingly, the Board seems to agree. In May, it sent a certified letterto Wayne’s home stating that they were investigating him. In North Carolina, practicing without a license can result in criminal misdemeanor charges.
No one should need a license to express an opinion. It should not be a crime to be an avowedly unqualified expert witness. The remedy for being an unqualified expert witness should be to have your testimony be refused or stricken or to have it be disbelieved.
IANAL, but the board definition of ‘practicing’ engineering seems unreasonably broad.
I just think if you ask a licensing board can you do the thing it does without a license, it’s going to say no. It’s just that in conservative states whose government is run indifferently there’s no voice to push back against such a board.
Go to court with the stakes being expanding the power of government or reducing that power and a NC judge is going to be hard pressed to decide. But you’ll need some third part voice telling the board its limitations.
This is a great point, there are a number of expert witnesses called that no longer practice within their expertise. We could add the likes of the FBI’s John Douglas, or former Forensic Pathologist Michael Baden. Experts don’t need to be currently practicing to be experts.
Being up front, I am a licensed civil engineer with NCBELS. I haven’t been able to find a copy of the report, but preparing something called “Stormwater Flow Characteristics of a 36” Reinforced Concrete Pipe Tidalholm Village Diverter Line" sounds like it could be crossing the line between opinion and practicing engineering. If the board were to allow something like this to slide, it would erode their ability to police other more egregious activities by people with less background than Mr. Nutt. In the past, all expert engineering testimony that I have been involved with, primarily hydrology and hydraulics, has come from professional engineers.
I would also nitpick the statement that a majority of engineers nationwide don’t become licensed. In the fields of civil, structural and environmental engineering, I would say licensure is extremely high as they are typically preparing plans and reports that can be a matter of public safety. Electrical and mechanical only seem to become licensed if they are also preparing plans, but seem to be less inclined to licensure.
Mr. Nutt seems to be a (retired) professional engineer. In any event, the document he prepared was for expert witness testimony, and the court is free to disregard it. I’m objecting to the idea that it can reasonably be considered a crime to have offered it. He’s not claiming to be licensed; there isn’t any deception or attempt to claim that he is in what he did. Indeed, he makes it clear he isn’t, which permits the audience to decide to disregard everything he says.
It’s like I appeared in court and said ‘I’m not a licensed engineer but I think that pipe diameter is too small’. That’s a crime?
Do state medical boards take this same approach, preventing with the threat of prosecution e.g. an accredited academic medical researcher (or retired one) from appearing as an expert medical witness despite not being a licensed medical doctor? I doubt it.
As far as I can tell he was never licensed in NC. Licenses are typically identified as retired in the directory once someone retires. Additionally, there are no violations listed for someone under that name and implies there was never a license. He was likely working under a firm’s general license, but didn’t have the education necessary for licensure. I have known a few people like this, but they can only have their name on the report as the preparer under the supervision of a professional engineer.
An opinion would be that the 36" pipe is too small because it flooded. IMO it crossed the line into practice of engineering under the purview of the board when a report was prepared with calculations to indicate the pipe was undersized.
I mean, the story covers this. He’s educated as an engineer and worked as an engineer under the industrial license exemption for DuPont for forty years. He didn’t need a license to be an engineer. He’s a retired engineer.