UNC Chapel Hill fires physics professor jailed in Argentina

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UNC Chapel Hill physics professor Paul Frampton

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has fired a physics professor who was arrested in Argentina after getting entangled in a scheme to smuggle two kilos of cocaine.

The Raleigh News and Observer reported that 70-year-old Paul Frampton is soon expected to be released from prison in Argentina.

Frampton has been confined there since his arrest at the Buenos Aires airport in 2012.

He was reportedly flying to Argentina to meet the woman who he thought was a former Miss Bikini World. Instead, he was arrested by drug agents after getting entangled in a scheme to smuggle two kilos of cocaine.

Frampton said he unknowingly carried four pounds of cocaine hidden in a suitcase from Bolivia.

The Oxford-educated professor was sentenced to four years and eight months of confinement.

Chancellor Carol Folt fired Frampton this month for misconduct and neglect of duty, according to the paper.


  • Hobbes

    He’s been there since 2012… Sooooooo, has been collecting a state paycheck plus benefits all that time?

    • neena

      I’m sure once all his accumulated sick leave and vacation that he had earned was exhausted he was not being paid.

    • Arduino

      There was controversy immediately at UNC as to whether or not to pay this man; the physics department cut off his pay immediately (or wanted to, I can’t remember), but that resulted in complaints from a lot of other tenured faculty, including a Nobel Prize winner. A friend of mine who is a physics major said that all of the faculty of the physics department had to vote to remove his tenure. The vote, he said, had to be unanimous to successfully remove it — which it was. Removing tenure is too difficult a process. However, I think a tenured professor’s paycheck is the result of a private endowment more than state tax dollars, and his paycheck couldn’t have otherwise gone towards anything better than paying another tenured professor.

  • Mark Stabler

    I have to agree with Hobbes. This guy was arrested Argentina in 2012 and has been in jail since that time. If he has been drawing a salary from the State of North Carolina since that time, then the Governor, Legislature and University Board need to answer to the people of this State. No wonder the teachers won’t to have tenure rather that a pay raise. The idea that a government job is for life spreads across all levels, from city, county, state and nation. Bonus pay to Federal employees making over $150,000 dollars a year is a disgrace. Change the rules and if they don’t want to work, let them quit. Enough is enough.

    • Calvin

      Ummmm why shouldn’t they get bonuses just like everybody else? I tell you what’s a disgrace, is Roy Williams getting paid $2 million a year to teach kids how to put a ball in a basket, while professors with PhDs who are actually contributing to the betterment of society don’t even have salaries in the 6 figures.

  • Hobbes

    The Charlotte Observer lists his 2013 salary at $106,835 (9 month contract). Do you have a link noting his personal leave was unpaid personal leave? Thanks.

  • Rick

    Smart enough to teach physics but not smart enough to realize “Miss Bikini World” via the interwebs is a scam.

  • Jim

    Why wouldn’t the media automatically uncover the answer to the above questions regarding this man’s pay from the state? Is the media that stupid, or that spineless? So sick of these half way done stories.

  • Carrie

    The Good Wife had an episode probably based on this. They didn’t solve the mystery of who was the crook, the professor or the bride.

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