Almost a week has gone by since the news surfaced that Hobart and William Smith Colleges is investigating whether or not its president, Gregory Vincent, plagiarized portions of the dissertation that earned him a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. On Wednesday, Thomas Bozzuto, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, provided students, staff, and faculty with an update through a campus-wide email. You can read the email below: (NOTE: Vincent has informed the Colleges he believes the charges are “wholly without merit.”)
Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,
Last week, I wrote regarding allegations concerning President Vincent’s past scholarly work, and to inform you that the Board of Trustees had begun a comprehensive and fair investigation. Since then, I have received questions from many in our community asking for details on the status of our efforts and a timeline. At the heart of these requests for information is serious concern for the academic integrity of the Colleges. I deeply respect that sentiment and, in the spirit of partnership, write today with an update.
First, let me outline the principles that are guiding the Board’s efforts: integrity – academic, institutional and personal; courage to examine tough issues in a respectful manner; and a commitment to hold dear our values, and to let our values dictate our actions. We have consulted with the University of Pennsylvania, which is pursuing its own assessment of President Vincent’s work, and have contracted with outside reviewers – faculty members with appropriate expertise who are examining the allegations and will provide their advice directly to the Board. We anticipate that this analysis could take approximately two weeks. Please be assured that we are moving as expeditiously as possible as we also ensure that our process is precise and equitable. No one wants to rush to judgment. This is institutionally important for Hobart and William Smith and personally critical to the career and reputation of President Vincent. Our goal is to have the information necessary to make a fully informed and thoughtful decision regarding next steps.
My highest concern, and that of the Board, is the integrity of Hobart and William Smith. You have my assurance that we are doing everything possible to safeguard the values and reputation of the Colleges. We want everyone in our community to be proud of Hobart and William Smith and confident in the process we are undertaking and the decision we will make. My commitment to you is that we will do this well and with the future of the Colleges in mind at all times. The Colleges have thrived for nearly two centuries and I am confident we will weather this as well. I ask for your continued cooperation and partnership, and will be in touch with updates as they become available.
Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68
Chair, Board of Trustees