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School’s president defends official investigation of her campus critics

Will not explain what policies were violated

The president of a private college is defending an investigation of her critics on campus, claiming that they have engaged in slander against her in ways that may warrant firing, though the president is not publicly clarifying what the alleged fireable offenses may have been.

The student government of LeMoyne-Owen College recently complained to members of the school’s board of trustees that President Andrea Miller “[retained] school employees who are relatives and [failed] to abate a mold problem in the dormitories.” Students also claimed that there was a rodent problem on campus.

After these complaints, the school “launched a human resources investigation” into campus critics of Miller. The school notified all students, faculty and staff of the investigation in a letter to the campus community.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations, the negative impact to the College, and the potential slander against President Miller, this is to notify all faculty, staff, and students that a formal investigation through Human Resources and external legal experts has been launched,” the letter read, according to a report in The Commercial Appeal. That letter also said that “disciplinary and legal action” could result from the investigation.

The College Fix was unable to obtain a copy of that letter, though The Commercial Appeal confirmed its veracity with the college. The Fix reached out to the school seeking comment from Andrea Miller; a representative of a public relations firm responded, providing The Fix with a statement from Miller in which she defended the investigation.

In the statement, Miller said that the letter was not meant to silence her critics and that she seeks “open dialogue.”

“[The letter] was not meant to subdue the voices of those who have legitimate concerns that we want and need to hear. Instead, it was sent with the hope of quelling the gross misuse of our college’s information technology systems and violations of internal policies we have in place for faculty, staff and students – all created and necessary to protect those our institution proudly serves. Some of these violations even warrant grounds for dismissal,” the statement read.

“We want to continue to enhance our historic and beloved institution and usher it into the next era. What we cannot stand for is blatant dishonesty, misuse of our college’s assets or misrepresentation of the alumni and student bodies,” the statement continued.

The Fix had sought more information on how precisely Miller may have been “slandered.” Miller’s statement did not answer that.

Multiple attempts were made to contact the school’s student government to inquire about their claims of Miller’s poor performance as president, though none were successful.

Seeking contact information for the student government, The Fix called several different phone numbers numerous times—those for the school’s Student Affairs office, the Student Activities office, the registrar, and the general school line—but never heard back. In one instance The Fix reached a receptionist who forwarded the call along to a voicemail line. That voicemail was never returned.

Several calls were met with out-of-service recordings. Others were met with electronic beeping noises.

An email to the school’s general information address was returned with a delivery failure notification. An email to Jennifer Moore, listed as the school’s coordinator of campus life, went unreturned.

According to the school’s website, Andrea Miller has been serving as the institution’s president since 2015. She is “a graduate of the College and is only the second alumni of the College to serve as President.”

MORE: College president says ‘Hate speech isn’t free speech’

MORE: How one state shields university presidents from public oversight

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About the Author
Maria is a sophomore at Franciscan University of Steubenville, double majoring in political science and communication arts. She enjoys being active in her church by being a cantor and volunteers at her local hospital and soup kitchen.

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