Two high-ranking college staff members simultaneously and abruptly resigned this week under circumstances that neither Colorado College nor the former employees will discuss.
Paul York, Student Activities Specialist, and Nicole Fagundo, Residential Life Coordinator for Mathias Hall, submitted letters of resignation on Monday afternoon, officially splitting from the college, according to Jane Turnis, Director of Communications.
“I can’t address any further questions, as we can’t comment on personnel matters,” Turnis told The Catalyst.
Both York and Fagundo were well known at CC as being heavily involved in Residential Life and the different disciplinary facets of the college. In Mathias, where Fagundo supervised a team of Residential Advisors, some are feeling left in the dust.
“Nikki Fagundo is someone who has the love and great professional respect of her entire Mathias RA staff,” junior Alli Weibel, a Mathias Staff RA, said. “The entire situation concerning her has had an extremely negative impact.”
Catalyst inquiries sent to the Residential Life department, Dean’s Office and Human Resources as to the nature of the resignations were all directed to the Office of Communications.
“I hear [The Catalyst has] inquired about two college employees and requested a meeting,” Turnis said in an e-mail response to the prompts. “As I’m sure you understand, college administrators cannot comment on personnel matters.”
Rumors have been circulating throughout campus regarding the nature of the split, but attempts to verify their validity were all quickly squandered even from the highest levels of the administration.
“I hope that you understand that the college cannot comment on personnel matters,” President Jill Tiefenthaler said. “All involved deserve this confidentiality.”
One college official said that if a CC employee were to divulge information regarding the resignations they could face termination.
“I will for sure miss working with all of the students that I feel like I’ve bonded with and helped out during my time here,” Fagundo said.
Paul York did not respond to calls, voicemails and social media messages requesting comment.
“… Many of the RA’s feel personally insulted by the significant amount of secrecy surrounding the situation,” Weibel said. “For example, Residential Life has still not officially notified the Mathias staff of Nikki’s departure from the RLC position [as of Tuesday morning]. RAs have been trying to put together pieces of the puzzle from gossip, and that is unfair to us and to Nikki, as it does not paint an accurate picture of the events.”
On Tuesday evening members of the Mathias RA staff met with Sara Rotunno, Assistant Director of Residential Life, to discuss Fagundo’s departure.
“This message is to let you know that the college has accepted a letter of resignation from Nikki, effective today,” Rotunno said in an e-mail to Mathias staff Tuesday morning and forwarded to The Catalyst. “She will remain here in her apartment through the remainder of the semester, but will not be serving in her RLC capacity.”
A reporter from The Catalyst asked to attend the meeting but was denied access.
“We will not be allowing outside constituents to attend,” Rotunno said.
The news of York and Fagundo’s resignation reached the campus RA community this weekend and rumors began to simultaneously circulate throughout the college after the two former employees posted messages on social media sites alluding to their departure.
On Saturday, York posted on Twitter: “#stuconduct pro in #sajobsearch.”
Fagundo’s Facebook status on Friday read: “My ability to roll with the punches is impressive. Know what you’re worth. It makes getting *punched* so much easier.”
Many other campus administrators replied to Fagundo’s Facebook posts relating to her resignation.
On Monday afternoon Loomis RLC Zachary Kroger sent an e-mail to Mathias residents confirming that Fagundo was “leaving.”
Several individuals came forward to The Catalyst and shared what they believed to be the events that led up to York and Faguno’s resignation. Those accounts could not be published, however, as those sources would only speak “off the record” and would not accept a condition of anonymity for fear of employment impacts and administrative discipline.
York worked at the college for a number of years, first serving as an RLC for Slocum Hall and the southeast part of campus housing before becoming the Student Life Specialist last year.
In his latest position, York worked with students facing disciplinary sanctions, revised the student Pathfinder outlining campus policies, and helped oversee Campus Safety. The specialist also worked closely as an advisor for the student honor council.
Fagundo officially began working at the college at the start of last academic year as the RLC for Mathias, serving as an intern assisting with the Mathias renovations in the years prior to that.
CC has already announced plans to replace Fagundo and York in their respective positions.
“As for the positions, the college plans to hire a new Student Life Specialist for conduct in the next several months,” Turnis said. “During the transition period, Associate Dean of Students Rochelle Mason will work closely with Student Support Specialist Kat Hodgson and other staff to ensure that student needs are met.”
For the remainder of the semester, Lauren Mocilac, a former RLC for the Western Ridge Apartments, will take over supervision duties in Mathias.
“Sara Rotunno, assistant director for residential life, and her RLC team will also provide coverage and support to the RA staff and residents of Mathias during this transition period,” Turnis said. “The search for a new RLC for Mathias will begin immediately, with the goal of having that person in place by the start of Block 5.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, both York and Fagundo were still listed on the CC website as being employees of the college and as still occupying their former positions.
In Worner, the shades to Paul York’s office on the second floor are pulled down and the inside appears to be empty. The plaque outside his door still bears his name, however.
Members of the Mathias RA staff have changed their Facebook “cover” photos along the top of their profile to the infamous McKayla Maroney “not impressed” face from the gymnast’s Olympic run this past summer.
“I think that is how all of us are feeling,” said Weibel.