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The aging UNC professor who met Miss Bikini World on the Internet then flew to Bolivia to meet her in the flesh but, instead, came face to face with a man standing in front of his hotel in La Paz holding an empty suitcase who said, ‘She left this. Take it to her in Buenos Aires. She’ll meet you there’ – is back in the newspapers.  

After the professor landed in Buenos Aires the police found four pounds of cocaine in the lining of the suitcase and, after that, he landed in an Argentinian prison.

Meantime, back in Chapel Hill, the Deans, concluding the professor couldn’t very well teach his classes form a prison in South America, suspended his pay; then the professor, after telling the Deans teaching his class from prison wasn’t going to be a problem, sued the University.

The verdict was peculiar: The judge didn’t show much empathy for the professor’s pursuit of Miss Bikini World but explained the way he saw it, after reading the law, UNC had violated its own policies when it came to paying tenured professors: He then ordered UNC to pay Paul Frampton $263,000 which has to leave you shaking your head wondering who on earth could have written a policy that said a tenured professor could go on getting paid while he was in prison for drug smuggling.

Anyhow, the University paid Frampton, regrouped, fired him outright, but now he’s out of jail, demanding his tenure back.

Which leads to a second tale: At the professor’s trial the prosecutor produced a series of text messages the professor had sent Miss Bikini World which, the prosecutor told the jury, proved Professor Frampton knew that suitcase was full of cocaine. Back then, the professor admitted he’d written the texts – but he told the New York Times they were just jokes he’d sent to his ‘loved one’ to amuse her.

Now the Professor’s changed his story: He says he didn’t write a single one of those texts – that the prosecutor wrote them to frame him. And what’s more, he says, he can prove it. How? He explained to the newspaper he’d paid a scientist in London called a ‘forensic linguist’ and the scientist has no doubt those texts were written by someone who speaks Spanish.

So how does this chapter end?

Today Professor Paul Frampton is teaching at a university in Italy – while arguing a university in North Carolina (that paid him $263,000 while he was in prison) has a ‘moral obligation’ to give him back his tenure.


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