2 Edison State College deans involved in course-swapping scandal leave school

Edison State College President Kenneth Walker

Edison State College President Kenneth Walker

Edison State College, with the help of Dr. Steve Atkins, Vice President of Academic Affairs, has recently finished a self-study report in order to be reaccredited in 2012 by the Southern Association of Colleges. Jason Easterly/Special to the Daily News

Photo by JASON EASTERLY

Edison State College, with the help of Dr. Steve Atkins, Vice President of Academic Affairs, has recently finished a self-study report in order to be reaccredited in 2012 by the Southern Association of Colleges. Jason Easterly/Special to the Daily News

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Two Edison State College deans at the heart of the school’s course substitution scandal are leaving the college.

Bill Roshon, interim dean of the Hendry/Glades Center in LaBelle, retired Monday. He has served in the position since August after being suspended a month earlier from his job as dean of business and technical studies.

Dennette Foy, associate dean of business and technical studies, resigned from her position effective Wednesday. She was placed on administrative leave with pay in July.

Edison recently came under fire for renewing contracts for the two in June despite having begun looking into the course substitutions in December.

Their departures follow last week’s termination of vice president for academic affairs Steve Atkins and the October resignation of two staff members overseeing the college’s accreditation process. On Friday, trustees will decide whether to fire vice president Robert Beeson.

Atkins and Beeson both say their terminations were in retaliation for reporting discriminatory hiring at the school. Atkins said Monday he believes Edison President Kenneth Walker asked Roshon and Foy to leave their jobs in an attempt to cover up that retaliation.

“I think in retrospect he had to deal with both Roshon and Foy because they were much closer to the substitution scandal than Dr. Beeson,” Atkins said.

In July, Roshon and Foy were placed on administrative leave with pay after an investigation revealed they let students substitute general education courses unrelated to their degree programs for core courses. The course substitutions allowed 50 to 70 students to graduate without meeting basic requirements for their major.

Another 65 students still in the program are being required to complete the approved set of core courses and electives at the college’s expense.

Foy’s continued pay was questioned nearly two weeks go by a state Senate committee, and was later cited by Walker as the basis for his recommendation that the school fire Beeson. Beeson served as Foy’s supervisor briefly this spring.

Neither Roshon nor Foy could be reached for comment Monday, and a spokesman for the school declined to comment on the departures.

Atkins said he and Beeson were both asked to resign by Walker, and recommended for termination immediately after they refused. He said he believes Roshon and Foy were offered the same option, and took it.

The two notified Walker of their decisions to leave in letters sent Friday.

In his two-sentence letter, Roshon wrote that he is announcing the decision “with great sadness.”

“I have enjoyed my almost 20 years with the institution and will miss the Edison family,” he wrote.

Foy wrote in her three-sentence letter that she intends to devote her full concentration to completing her doctoral dissertation.

“I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at Edison and the professional guidance and support the College has afforded me,” she wrote. “I wish the college success in the future.”

The course substitution issue is one of several raising concerns on campus as the school seeks reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which will send representatives to campus later this week.

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