Export Violations

Consequences for violating Export Controls laws and regulations are severe. It is a liability not only for the University, but also for its faculty and staff to assess the risk and to apply for the appropriate export authorizations. Contact the Office of Trade Compliance if you need assistance.

J. Reece Roth Case – University of Tennessee

On January 18, 2012, John Reece Roth, a former professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville, began serving a four-year prison sentence for his September 2008 convictions. Roth received this sentence for illegally exporting military technology, in large part due to his work with graduate students from Iran and China. Although, Roth claimed he was ignorant of the regulations, the prosecution pointed out that he was warned on a number of occasions, including by university counsel, that the technology may have been controlled. Professor Roth's conviction and prison sentence forcefully remind the research community, as well as academia, of the potentially severe consequences that may arise from ignoring technology export controls.

Other University Cases

  • In May 2013, three researchers at the New York University School of Medicine were charged for sharing with Chinese companies non-public information about their N.Y.U work conducted through a grant from the N.I.H. to develop new M.R.I. technologies.
  • In March 2013, University of Massachusetts in Lowell (UML) has been sanctioned for two past violations of the Export Administrations Regulations: in 2006 and 2007 UML exported an antennae and an atmospheric testing device as EAR99 to SUPARCO, an organization listed on the Entity List (one of the Restricted Parties Lists).
  • In 2009, Georgia Institute of Technology allowed Internet Users in 36 countries, including China, and Iran, to view sensitive information that was intended only for federal employees and contractors. This course included 14 PowerPoint slides and was uploaded to Georgia Tech's servers. The State Department stated that it had determined that violations had occurred.
  • In 2004, Dr. Thomas Campbell Butler, M.D., a professor of Texas Tech University received a 2 year prison sentence for illegally exported the Yersinia pestis (human plague), which is a controlled item under the EAR and cannot be exported without the required export licenses. Dr. T. C. Butler had to resign from Texas Tech and accepted a denial of his export privileges for a period of ten years.

Common Violations

Common violations within academic environments are: