Presidential Search controversy boils over, trustee resigns


Last week as reported first by The Suffolk Journal, Suffolk University Board of Trustees member John J. McDonnell submitted his letter of resignation, effective on Monday, due to concerns with the recently completed presidential search and called for an independent outside investigation to take place.

The fallout from Suffolk’s search for its 11th president has reached far into the inner workings of the university. Some people are asking about the process itself, as a blatantly charged anonymous memo recently alleged a harsh mishandling by the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) and head of the Board of Trustees Robert Lamb. With Marisa Kelly now permanently sitting in the office she had tentatively previously occupied, members of the Suffolk community are seeking answers to how she obtained this seat, with less of a focus on why she was elected.

The anonymous memo, while inflammatory in language, has prompted interest in various pockets across campus. Last week, Sawyer Business School (SBS) faculty presented a motion that called for a vote of “No Confidence” in Lamb.

“The Faculty Senate, Presidential Search Committee, and Suffolk University community was promised a fair and transparent presidential search process. Evidence from different sources indicate the Presidential search procedures agreed to with the [sic] Suffolk University were compromised by the direct and indirect actions of Board Chair Robert Lamb which has negatively impacted Suffolk University students, faculty, alumni, and staff,” Faculty Senate Co-Chair and Professor in the Management and Entrepreneurship Department Collette Dumas wrote in an email to SBS faculty, which was obtained by The Journal. “Given the lack of trust and confidence in Board Chair Robert Lamb’s leadership and his inability to make meaningful shared governance a reality, the Sawyer Business School faculty records the vote of ‘No Confidence.’”

The university did not confirm whether or not the vote of no confidence took place as of Tuesday night.

According to sources that were cited previously by The Journal, Kelly was allegedly lobbied for by Lamb; she was not originally part of the slated final vote. McDonnell cited “total mismanagement of the selection process for our new president” in his resignation letter to Trustee members.

“I can only hope that Suffolk learns from this experience so that future selections never again compromise our reputation or the fairness Suffolk University must represent,” McDonnell wrote.