RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A North Carolina State University associate professor is charged with three counts of embezzling money from student organizations, university officials said.
Charles Whisnant, a former associate professor of Animal Science at N.C. State, is accused of stealing more than $70,000 for personal use from 3 student clubs that he advised.
Whisnant resigned from his position a day before his arrest. He turned himself in at the Wake County Magistrates’ office on Wednesday.
He started at N.C. State in August 1997. According to documents obtained by WNCN, Whisnant made a salary of $100,370.
“It’s really upsetting that any kind of professor or anyone that works for the school would go against those kinds of clubs and take that kind of money even if he was involved in them,” said N.C. State student Will Nash.
Discrepancies in the Animal Science Club’s bank statements, identified by the club’s student treasurer, were reported to the university’s office of internal audit on Jan. 14, and the police began an investigation on Jan. 19.
The investigation expanded to two other student organizations that Whisnant also advised, Alpha Zeta Agriculture Honors Fraternity and the Agri-Life Council, an umbrella organization of recognized student groups in the College of Agriculture of Life Sciences.
Arrests warrants say Whisnant stole $750 from the Agri-Life Council, $16,861 from Alpha Zeta, and $54,255 from the Animal Science Club.
“It’s really shocking. I couldn’t believe that someone would actually do that and especially when it’s our student’s money,” said N.C. State student Brittany Clay
Whisnant made his first court appearance on Thursday.
“It’s a trying time for everybody and we’re trying to focus on these preliminary proceedings and we’ll move on to the next phase at the appropriate time,” said Christian Dysart, Whisnant’s attorney.
In court, Dysart mentioned the professor may have tried to pay some of the money back but couldn’t give WNCN any details.
Whisnant’s wife did not want to comment. The judge put him on electronically monitored home arrest until his next court date in March.
“I’m glad we were able to have him released on pretrial so we can get him home with his family and he and I can start working on his defense,” said Dysart.
Late Friday afternoon, Whisnant’s professor page on the N.C. State website was taken down.