Sounds of silence at Suffolk
The silence coming out of Suffolk University is deafening.
The board of trustees still isn’t talking about why it fired president Margaret McKenna, and McKenna herself hasn’t said anything since she issued a statement late last week suggesting her termination was unfair.
The lack of chatter is amazing given the circus that erupted earlier this year when the board tried to fire McKenna and she turned the tables by rallying students, faculty, and the media to her cause. She eventually struck a deal with the board, agreeing to stay on until fall 2017 as long as board chairman Andrew Meyer left and changes to the board’s governing structure were made.
But a board with a new chairman and three new members, all appointed with input from McKenna, voted unanimously to terminate the earlier deal and give her the boot. McKenna’s chief of staff, Carol Streit, also left.
The firing of McKenna and the departure of Streit followed a report from outside counsel Dan Goldberg, who was called in to investigate charges raised by former Suffolk public relations advisor George Regan; Goldberg reportedly found nothing to substantiate Regan’s claims, but he must have uncovered something else that was big because the board wasted no time in dumping McKenna.
McKenna’s statement portrayed her as the victim, suggesting the agreement she had reached earlier in the year with the board had been sabotaged. “Sadly, the forces that have been at work since the inception of my presidency have continued through these months to undermine that agreement,” she said. “I believe this termination is unfair and, in pursuit of the truth, I plan to pursue a mediation process.”
But it doesn’t seem like anyone is buying McKenna’s explanation this time around. While it remains unclear exactly why she was fired, few of her former supporters seem to be coming to her defense. There have been no faculty protests, no student demonstrations, and no outpouring of support from Boston officials. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which issued a report in May criticizing the Suffolk board of trustees and urging its members to adhere to the agreement with McKenna, had no comment.
All this silence may be the lull before the storm, but so far it suggests McKenna is done at Suffolk.
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