Pensacola State College fired a tenured professor Tuesday amid allegations that he presented college administrators with an unaccredited master’s degree from an online diploma mill that he obtained while on a paid sabbatical.
Robert Michael Ardis, 48, has 10 days to appeal to the college Board of Trustees for a hearing before the board and 14 days to file a grievance that would see the matter brought before an arbitrator under the faculty union contract.
The associate professor of behavioral sciences and coordinator of the college’s criminal justice program is also locked in an outside legal battle on criminal charges of violating a domestic violence injunction involving his 22-year-old wife, a former PSC student.
Charged with 14 counts of contempt of court, Ardis’ case is set for trial on Jan. 24 before Escambia County Judge Joyce Williams.
The college’s lawyer, Tom Gilliam, has said that the decision to dismiss Ardis is unrelated to the criminal matters. Ardis had been suspended without pay since Dec. 15.
PSC President Ed Meadows made the recommendation to the board to oust Ardis Tuesday. The board unanimously voted to dismiss Ardis who took a board-approved sabbatical in the spring term and first summer term in 2010.