Lawmaker to VCU: Take back degree

A powerful Virginia lawmaker says Charlotte-Mecklenburg's police chief should return a disputed bachelor's degree or complete the work needed for the Virginia Commonwealth University diploma.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that Lacey Putney, an Independent from Bedford who chairs the House appropriations committee, sent VCU Rector Thomas Rosenthal a strongly worded letter saying there is no excuse for allowing former Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe to keep the degree.

Monroe is required to hold a bachelor's degree for his job as chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg department. He didn't return calls or e-mails seeking comment Tuesday, but in a news conference last week, Monroe said he might go back to college or even voluntarily give up his Virginia Commonwealth University degree to address the continuing controversy over his higher education.

“I find it quite disturbing to allow this matter to divide this community or this department,” said Monroe, who became chief here in June. “I will accept responsibility for moving us forward by exploring various options for removing elements of this back-and-forth debate.”

Last week, the Virginia House Appropriations Committee urged university leaders to see if the school can revoke the degree it wrongly granted. VCU awarded Monroe the degree in 2007 although he only earned six of 30 required credit hours there.