Polk State College 'fake professor' charged

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A Polk State College professor is accused of being a fraud, teaching with a fake diploma.

10 News went to Polk State College Thursday and found some students are starting to question the education they're paying for.

The college only has summer classes now, but the few students on campus say they need to know more about 55-year-old business professor David Broxterman. He's accused by the Polk County State Attorney of faking his PhD diploma to teach at the school.

"That's pretty insane. How did he slip by?" asked Polk State Sophomore Joey Tirado.

"They should want to answer the questions to see how this happened," said Sophomore Rainbow Williams. "To make sure other professors aren't fake or don't have the right credentials."

10 News tried to talk to college administrators on camera, but instead, got an email saying Broxterman was placed on administrative leave May 1, that the school has changed its hiring procedures and will use a third party to verify academic degrees, and that student grades will not be affected.

We asked students if they think that goes far enough.

"Ahh I don't think so," said Joey Tirado. "I think they should (speak on camera) and they're responsible for it."

Over in the Polk State faculty office, you can see nameplates outside of each professor's door, except the one where David Broxterman used to work.

There are only bare walls now where a diploma used to hang inside. It's a diploma the state's attorney says is forged and is causing students to ask, 'How could this happen at my college?'

"I want to be able to trust my professors," said sophomore Rainbow Williams.

She also said students have been left in the dark about the professor, who reportedly misspelled "board" on his diploma and used the wrong name for USF's president.

"This is how I found out," she said. "From the news coming to the school."

Broxterman is being charged with grand theft of more than $100,000 and cheating.


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