Deja vu at Suffolk U

A correction was added to this story clarifying that the Suffolk trustees sent a letter to the Suffolk community Thursday evening. That letter said McKenna had been terminated but did not explain why.

Suffolk University’s trustees voted to fire President Margaret McKenna and her chief of staff on Thursday, but they bungled her removal just the way they did when they tried to remove her earlier this year.

The board held an emergency meeting in the morning to hear the results of an investigation by attorney Dan Goldberg, who had been retained to check out a series of allegations made against McKenna. Those allegations included some made by PR executive George Regan, whose firm McKenna fired after her earlier dustup with the board.

By early afternoon, word was leaking out that McKenna and her top aide were fired. But the board made no official announcement until the early evening, and then only to members of the Suffolk community. The university’s website still carried no mention of the president’s firing Friday morning.

With no official announcement until late in the day, the Boston Herald, citing information from sources, reported in the early afternoon that McKenna had been fired. The Boston Globe waited to report the news until McKenna herself issued a statement. “I believe this termination is unfair and, in pursuit of the truth, I intend to pursue a mediation process,” she said, without explaining what that might entail.

McKenna’s statement indicated the board found Regan’s charges to be baseless, and recently installed board chairman Robert Lamb agreed with that assessment in a brief phone chat with the Globe. (Regan nevertheless issued a statement to the Globe in which he applauded the board for showing “great courage by standing up and recognizing the tremendous mistake that they made by hiring Margaret McKenna.” For a fuller Regan take on McKenna, click here.)

McKenna said the board raised concerns about three issues: her communications with the board about an accrediting agency, her dealings with the accrediting agency, and a meeting she held with the Globe’s editorial board. She did not elaborate.

Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld reported that the trustees were concerned that McKenna’s dealings with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges could have cost Suffolk its accreditation. But he had no other details.

In the news vacuum created by the failure of the Suffolk trustees to explain their actions, McKenna took the offensive, as she did earlier this year when the board challenged her. She indicated she was again being treated unfairly by the board and, in the absence of any facts, most Suffolk officials, students, and alumni initially sided with her.

But the contents of Goldberg’s report must have been damaging for the board to fire her and her chief of staff. After all, McKenna was going to be leaving anyway in 2017 under an agreement McKenna previously worked out with the board. That agreement mandated a number of changes in the way the board operates and also required that its then-chairman, Andrew Meyer, step down in May.

At the time of that earlier deal, McKenna and Meyer issued a statement saying the action of the trustees was “guided by the principle of doing what is in the best interest of the institution.” Something obviously changed between then and now.



Gov. Charlie Baker sided with the medical community, vetoing legislation that would have required insurers to cover long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. He said the state’s Medicaid program would take testimony on the best treatment for the disease and then revise its policies accordingly, with private insurers required to follow suit. (Boston Globe

Five former state attorneys general back Maura Healey, the current holder of the post, on her copycat assault weapons directive. (CommonWealth)

Peter Picknelly, the owner of Peter Pan bus company, sent a letter to Baker and lawmakers questioning why the state should pay for a study of just train service between Springfield and Boston. Baker subsequently used his veto powers to amend the measure. (Masslive)


The Boston Police Department hired fewer than 10 percent of minority applicants. (Boston Herald)

Somerville police protest a Black Lives Matter banner hanging on City Hall backed by Mayor Joseph Curtatone. (Boston Herald)

A Salem News editorial lauds all the investment going on in Salem.


A federal judge ruled that the Obama administration could not take land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, dashing plans for a $1 billion casino in Taunton. (Boston Globe) A copy of the decision can be found here. The decision, which likely will be appealed, is a major blow to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which bet on the tribe instead of a competing, non-tribal proposal in Brockton.


Hillary Clinton became the first woman in US history to win a political nomination from a major political party. (Boston Globe) Eric Fehrnstrom says Clinton’s embrace of President Obama, particularly on foreign military engagements, could prove risky. (Boston Globe) David Brooks says the Democrats won the summer. (New York Times) Khizr Khan, whose son died fighting for the US in Iraq, rebuked Donald Trump and his policies. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” he said. (New York Times)

On Twitter, conservatives say the Democratic National Convention was a disaster for the GOP. (Talking Points Memo)

Trump quips that, watching the DNC, he wanted to hit a couple of speakers so hard that their heads would spin. (ABC)

Deval Patrick takes a jab at the Baker administration. (State House News)


While some are warning of a real estate bubble, an Eagle-Tribune editorial says rising home prices are good news, particularly because they are occurring in areas such as Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill, and Methuen.


A Boston Globe editorial applauds the state for widening access to hepatitis C drugs.

A new report in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics traces a rise in child hospital admissions for marijuana after the legalization of the drug in Colorado.


The MBTA refers its months-long probe into parking revenue losses to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. (CommonWealth)

A Patriot Ledger editorial welcomes a test run of ferry service between Quincy and Boston but says the city should get permanent service.


Weymouth doesn’t want a natural gas compressor station and is refusing to take $47 million from Spectra Energy as compensation for it, but it looks like the federal government may approve the project anyway. (Boston Globe)


A legislative committee takes testimony on the impact of court fees on poor defendants. (Masslive)

Police arrest three people who allegedly purchased 600 bags of heroin in Holyoke and then drove off to the Berkshire where they planned to sell it. (Berkshire Eagle)

Police arrest a most wanted sex offender in New Jersey, the fourth to be nabbed in a week. (Masslive)


Mary Dunne, the mother of Lauren Dunne Astley, says her daughter and her killer, Nathaniel Fujita, did not belong in the Spotlight report on mental illness. (Boston Globe)

The New York Times Co. reports a slight loss in the second quarter but sharply higher digital subscriptions.