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Northwestern's statement said in part:
"There have been recent media reports regarding the conduct of David Protess (and his) Medill Innocence Project....Northwestern has been conducting its own review of (his) actions and practices....It served as the basis for Northwestern's response to subpoenas issued by the Cook County State's Attorney's office." Despite his laudable work, his "Innocence Project (goal) would not justify any improper actions," despite no legitimate evidence proving any.
On March 18, The Daily Northwestern's Brian Rosenthal headlined, "Updated: NU removes David Protess as professor of Investigative Journalism in spring," saying:
His removal "leave(s) the future of the class unclear. In an interview, Protess said he will continue to serve as director of the Innocence Project, but he doesn't know if the project will continue to be involved with the class...."
At the time, he also said he's "committed to continuing our investigations in these cases. Innocent prisoners should not be punished for the dean's decision....The innocent prisoners in jail transcend anything going on at Northwestern. I'm not going to neglect the cause."
In addition, he expressed disappointment "because last quarter's class was the best group of students I've taught in years."
The eight undergraduates in his spring class petitioned Medill's Senior Director of Undergraduate Education Michele Mitoun saying:
"If removing Protess is part of an effort by the University to discipline him for defending the integrity of the Innocence Project to which he and decades of students have given so much, please know that you are not punishing Prof. Protess half as much as you are his students, and the two men still sitting behind bars."
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