RCC report details ‘serious shortcomings’ at college
Howard Manly | 3/28/2013, noon
Based on the findings of an independent report headed by former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd, Roxbury Community College (RCC) has taken steps to avoid recent administrative failures that prompted an ongoing federal probe and led to the abrupt resignation last year of former RCC President Terrence Gomes.
Conducted by the law firm Goodwin Proctor, the “Budd Report” focused on the allegations of sexual misconduct and financial improprieties in the awarding of financial aid.
Over the course of its pro bono investigation, Goodwin attorneys conducted 55 interviews and reviewed more than 100,000 documents, including email, reports and handwritten notes.
Its findings include the following: serious deficiencies in policies, training and organization that left the college ill-equipped to properly respond to reported incidents of crime; a failure of senior administrators and staff to investigate allegations of sexual assault made by a student between the years of 2008-2011; and a failure to comply with its obligations under the Clery Act to report those allegations to the U.S. Department of Education.
“The Interim President Dr. Linda Turner, backed by the current Board of Trustees, has acted in good faith to provide full access to all information and to cooperate with all investigations,” said Board Chair Kathy Taylor. “The report details fully and explicitly the previous mistakes made by senior administrators, yet it also allows us to move forward.”
In response to the findings of the report, Taylor said that RCC has changed how it investigates and discloses incidents of sexual assault on campus. RCC has also hired Visium Global, a specialist in campus safety and security, and SAKing and Associates, an independent consulting firm that specializes in workplace policies.
Taylor said that the current board, 75 percent of which is made up of new members appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick last fall, has already begun to revise its bylaws to play a greater role in hiring decisions and financial oversight.
The Budd Report pointed out that RCC did not have a formal board committee responsible for compliance and audits, and had not updated its bylaws to reflect changes adopted in the past.
“We understand we will have to answer some tough questions, but this is a new board and a fresh start,” said Taylor. “This board fully intends to live up to its responsibilities and the challenges posed by the findings of the Budd Report by not only putting the right people, policies and procedures in place but making the necessary changes. We hope these efforts, and our commitment to exceeding what is required and expected, will be considered by the Depa rtment of Education and other governing bodies in assessing the actions regarding the college.”