COLLEGE
05/05/2011 02:28 pm ET Updated Jul 05, 2011

David Protess, Suspended Northwestern University Professor, Now Teaching Underground

Embattled former Northwestern journalism professor David Protess, who was recently placed on leave from the university for doctoring documents associated with an ongoing court case, has started teaching underground classes, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Protess, the founder of the Innocence Project, a journalism initiative devoted to exonerating wrongfully accused prisoners, was dismissed from the university in March for doctoring an email sent to the defense lawyers of Anthony McKinney, who in 2007 was put on trial for murder, about the release of student memos.

Though Protess was removed from the spring semester roster at Northwestern, the Tribune reports that the professor has taken to teaching small groups of students in a secret location.

This revelation comes as new accusations of ethical lapses by Protess surface. According to the Tribune, Protess admitted to telling students to misrepresent their identities when reporting:

In November 2006, journalism student Kendra Marr identified herself as a U.S. census worker when she called an Evanston man to ask about the location of his nephew, a witness in a murder case. Later, the man called Marr back on her personal cell phone and threatened to report her to census officials unless she explained why she misidentified herself.

Marr, who now works as a reporter for the news site Politico, said she regrets using deception.

"I was a student in the class, and I wish I hadn't done it," Marr said. "It wasn't my idea, and as a professional journalist, I haven't misrepresented myself since, nor do I intend to ever again."

For his part, Protess seems philosophical about misrepresentation as a viable interrogation technique.

"It is problematic if you haven't exhausted other ways first," Protess told the Tribune, "While I say they didn't cross the line, I respect the view that all misrepresentation is unacceptable."