UNC J-School lecturer resigns after 'inappropriate relationship' with student

Staff writerNovember 17, 2010 

Monty Cook resigned his post as executive producer of UNC-CH’s Reece Felts Digital News Project.


— Monty Cook, hired by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Journalism School this summer to lead an innovative online news operation, resigned Tuesday amid allegations that he had a relationship with a female student.

Cook, an alumnus, left The Baltimore Sun as senior vice president and editor earlier this year to take a post as executive producer of UNC-CH’s Reese Felts Digital News Project.

Journalism School Dean Jean Folkerts said that the situation came to light last Friday evening when a distraught student alerted a faculty member. Folkerts said she immediately alerted human resources and the university’s lawyers.

“I want everyone to know that we acted as quickly as possible when we knew,” Folkerts said Wednesday evening.

Folkerts said Cook had been engaged in a relationship with a female student for several weeks.

She said she called Cook Tuesday and informed him that she would recommend his termination. He resigned.

Efforts to reach Cook failed Tuesday night. Folkerts said he has already left the university.

Reese Felts Digital News Project launched its online interactive site at the beginning of November which would act as an incubator to test theories about journalism and marketing in a digital age.

Folkerts met with students at the project Wednesday afternoon to alert them of Cook’s departure.

“They were discouraged that there was a disruption,” Folkerts said of the students. “They put faith in professors and that faith was violated. But, they are very anxious to make this site a really great project.”

mandy.locke@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8927

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