In a letter dated March 27 between Dorsey Baldwin, director of the Multicultural Student Center, and Patrice Jackson, dean of students, Baldwin cited Chris Pugh’s “unprofessional and unethical behavior.”
In a three-page long letter obtained through an open records request, Baldwin details how Pugh mishandled the hiring of a Graduate Assistant for the MSC.
According to the letter, an interview board had interviewed and decided to hire a female candidate, whose name has been removed from the letter, and Pugh was to offer her the job on Friday, March 13. Pugh gave the woman until Tuesday, March 17 to accept or decline the offer. Pugh reported to Baldwin that he had offered her the job and gave her until March 17 to let the office know her decision.
On March 17, the woman emailed Pugh to say she would be accepting the job. At this point, she had declined all other offers. According to Pugh, the woman then called him and he “took that opportunity to discuss her intentions.”
“[Pugh] stated that based on his conversation with her from Friday, March 13 and the fact that she had received multiple GA offers, he wanted to determine what her goals were, if she was still confused about which offer to accept and if she were sure if she wanted to work in the Multicultural Student Center,” according to the letter.
Pugh then directed her to go after her first choice in jobs and offered to help get her hired there since she had already declined the offer. He then called the department personally and encouraged them to reconsider hiring her if in fact they were still interested after she had previously declined their offer. The department then reoffered her the Graduate Assistantship.
The graduate assistant then came in to the office to share what the events were from her point of view with Baldwin. She stated that after receiving a call from Pugh she stated that she was still unsure about which position to accept and that she would email him once she decided.
She emailed Pugh on Tuesday, March 17 to officially accept the position and stated that he then called her to talk- she missed the call and then had to call him back. When she called back, he then explained to her that he was unsure of who he wanted to hire. It was between her and another candidate.
She explained that she was under the impression that he would rather hire the other candidate and that based on his phone call on Friday, March 13 she thought that she had the job.
He explained over the phone that he wanted to make sure she could interact well with the current MAP students and asked if she could attend a second portion of the interview process—something of which she was not made aware of when she got the phone call initially offering her the job.
She stated that she never would’ve declined her other offers if she had known that the MAP GA position wasn’t solely hers.
Baldwin then got in contact with a representative of the other organization (the one she initially declined an offer from) and had a discussion with a staff member about the situation. They stated that they were confused about her primary decline of the position and then coming back but that they’d be happy to reoffer the position since she was a great candidate.
The staff member also stated that Pugh mentioned to him how there was another candidate he thought would be able to fill the role of MAP GA because he was already in the organization and had been active for the past few years as a student and mentor.
Baldwin came to the conclusion that Pugh was not forth coming with the factual report when she first asked him whether or not she had accepted MAP’s job offer.
At the end of the letter Baldwin states that “As an Assistant Director, I do no trust Chris to make appropriate and ethical decisions, and I feel that all of this was done by him in order to hire a student that he wanted and not the person that I had instructed him to hire based off the recommendation of the majority of the interview committee.”
This was the most recent of the occurrences causing Baldwin to call Pugh’s employment and professionalism into question. The conclusion of the letter, written March 27, was Baldwin stating that she recommended termination or providing Pugh the opportunity to resign.
On Friday, April 10, a user on Change.org listed as “Student Body, Georgia Southern University” started a petition to reinstate Pugh addressed to Brooks Keel, president of GSU, Teresa Thompson, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management as well as Ale Kennedy, associate vice president for human resources.
“Christopher Pugh is an exemplary leader amongst the student body and campus community, and has led hundreds of people towards truly understanding who they are as individuals and inspiring them to continue on the road towards success and service,” according to the petition.
As of yesterday evening, the petition had close to 850 signatures.