Central Michigan University (CMU) has suspended a third employee as part of its investigation into a relationship with Vanguard Public Affairs, a public relations firm in Lansing whose owner has been accused of sexual misconduct.
At the start of the investigation, CMU already placed a staff member and a faculty member who may have had knowledge of the situation on administrative leave, Michigan Live reported. The university student newspaper Central Michigan Life reported that these two were journalism faculty members, Steve Coon, and student media adviser Dave Clark.
Multiple Accusations of Harassment
Several women have come forward to accuse the owner of Vanguard, TJ Bucholz, of inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment, and for creating a toxic work environment. Some of these women were still students at CMU or recent graduates who were working as interns or staff.
CMU has been investigating its relationship with Vanguard Public Affairs through former US Attorney Matthew Schneider. Although Schneider attended high school with Bucholz, CMU has clarified that it is comfortable with him leading the investigation.
A number of women bravely came forward last week to speak about the sexual harassment they experienced when working at or with Vanguard Public Affair's CEO TJ Bucholz.
But we, as a culture, must do better in providing ways for people to speak out and report harassment. https://t.co/aTh5lP7ezJ
— Jordyn Hermani (@JordynHermani) March 31, 2021
In a statement to the CMU community released last March, university President Bob Davies expressed his anger about the situation and apologized for “the degrading and horrible acts they (students and alumni) experienced” while they were associated with the firm.
“I have read the testimonies and accounts from our students and alumni, as well as those of other individuals who were associated with the firm. The stories of what they endured as employees — the degrading and horrible acts they experienced — deeply sadden me, and I extend my sincere apologies to each of them. They have all demonstrated incredible bravery coming forward, and I want them to know they have our support,” Davies wrote.
Last March, the Lansing City Pulse reported that Bucholz had to be transported to Sparrow Hospital after a “suicide threat/attempt.”