Azhar Hussain, an assistant professor at ISU has been arrested on charges alleging he made false reports of anti-Islamic threats against him and even reported an attack authorities say did not happen.
Hussain, 56, faces a felony charge of obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor charge of harassment. He was booked into Vigo County Jail at 4:51 p.m. today and is scheduled for a Monday appearance in Vigo County Superior Court 6. Bond has been set at $10,000 cash.
The university in a news release said Hussain, an assistant professor of aviation technology, has been suspended from teaching duties.
The charges stem from a series of emails that were received on campus containing anti-Muslim messages and threats of potential violence against members of the Muslim community, according to the university.
The first report of the emails occurred on March 8. The messages specifically mentioned Hussain as a target.
On March 24, Hussain reported an assault in the College of Technology in which he said he was attacked from behind as he was entering his office early that morning. He told police he was thrown to the floor.
He said he had not seen his attacker, and no words were spoken. ISU Police at the time said four people in the vicinity were unable to corroborate his story, saying they'd seen no suspicious activity or people.
The university on Friday said Hussain had been notified recently by Provost Mike Licari that he would not be reappointed to his faculty position beyond the 2017-18 academic year due to his inability to fulfill the conditions of his original appointment.
“Based upon the investigation, it is our belief that Hussain was trying to gain sympathy by becoming a victim of anti-Muslim threats, which he had created himself,” said Joseph Newport, ISU's chief of police.
“It is extremely unfortunate that this situation caused undue concern on other members of the ISU community,” said Newport, who also noted campus crime alerts had been sent out following the first email and the alleged attack.
ISU Police were assisted in the investigation by the Cybercrime and Investigative Technologies Section of the Indiana State Police and ISU's information technologies security engineer. During the investigation, ISU Police collaborated with the local FBI office and the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office.
Investigators were able to track the computers from which the emails originated and uncovered evidence to charge Hussain with sending the emails himself, according to the university news release.
Licari indicated dismissal proceedings against Hussain would be started in accordance with university policy. Arrangements are being made to cover his remaining classes and administer final exams.
A resume of Hussain's on a job site indicates he holds an MBA in aviation management from Embry-Riddle University and a bachelor's in aviation from the Florida Institute of Technology.
He lists prior teaching experience at Everglades University, as well as former aviation jobs including airport operations coordinator at Kissimmee, Florida, Gateway Airport and airside operations officer at the Broward County, Florida, Aviation Department.
His self-posted resume shows him having a doctorate from ISU in curriculum design earned in 2017, but the newspaper could not independently verify that degree listing on Friday afternoon.