Bari's forest of family trees

March 11, 2005

One office after another along a corridor at the University of Bari has the same name on its door.

The southern Italian university's economics faculty has nine academics with the surname Massari; three brothers and six of their sons and daughters.

The Massaris hold the record for a single family ahead of Bari's rector, Giovanni Girone, a statistician whose wife, son and daughter all work in his department.

Over the past three years, Bari has been the focus of investigations into irregularities in the competitive exams through which academic posts are assigned, with some senior academics placed under arrest. Other reviews have exposed systematic exam-selling.

An investigation by the newspaper La Repubblica discovered that there are half a dozen academic-dynasty families holding a disproportionate number of posts in the university, generally, with each family strongly rooted in a single sector.

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