Eleven professors at Rome's Sapienza University medical school are officially under investigation for allegedly "fixing" competitive exams for medical chairs.
According to the Rome judge who is directing the investigation, the 11 baroni, as powerful academics are known in Italy, allegedly fixed competitive exams in 1989 and 1992 to give jobs to whom they wanted rather than to the best-qualified candidates.
According to the charges, some of the successful candidates in the 1989 exams were the sons and daughters of professors who then sat on the commission for the 1992 exams.
The professors under investigation are Gaspare Pezzarossa, Salvatore Conticello, Paolo Puxeddu, Giacomo Maffei, Antonio Quaranta and Italo De Vincentis for the 1989 exams, and Giovanni Motta, Carlo Calearo, Vittorio Colletti, Oreste Pignataro and Giovanbattista Catalano for the 1992 sessions. The investigation began a few months ago after candidates who were rejected filed complaints that the jobs they had been competing for had gone to much less qualified, but much better connected, candidates. In one instance a group of "unconnected" candidates heard on the university grapevine who was going to win the posts that were available. They wrote out a list of names and deposited the sealed envelop with a notary public pending the actual exams. Sure enough, the names on the list were those of the candidates who obtained the posts.
Also under investigation is a well-known lawyer, Gaetano Scoca, who allegedly advised the baroni on how best to exclude the "unconnected" candidates without leaving themselves open to charges of illegality.
All 12 have been officially notified that they are under investigation for "aggravated corruption, mendacity and abuse of office', since within the state university system professors on examining commissions are considered public officials.