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Independent investigation by a New Brunswick-based law firm results in immediate dismissal of professor.
MONCTON, NB – Crandall University, an independent liberal arts university, with an enrolment of more than 1,400 students, has terminated the employment of Dr. John G. Stackhouse Jr., a professor and member of Crandall’s faculty. Dr. Stackhouse received notice of termination today after a comprehensive, six-month, investigation.
The law firm Pink Larkin was engaged by the University on the recommendation of its Board of Governors in April of 2023. The firm was asked to serve as the independent investigator following anonymous accusations of inappropriate behaviour by an unnamed employee or employees contained in social media posts. The firm presented their findings to the Board late this past week. A decision to terminate Dr. Stackhouse’s employment, effective immediately, was approved by the Board today.
Former Crandall Board of Governors chair, Ms. Sheila Cummings, who was the board chair at the time of the initial allegations, has overseen the investigation process. In a letter to the university community, co-signed by Ms. Cummings, current chair Mr. Douglas Schofield and Crandall President, Dr. Bruce Fawcett, the three expressed the institution’s deepest regret to all of its students, and particularly to any student or students who were made to feel threatened, diminished, or victimized by the words or actions of a faculty member. “Paramount at Crandall University is the safety and security of its students. We cannot and will not tolerate behaviour from its administration, faculty, or staff that in any way violates the University’s mission and identity,” they said.
The Pink Larkin investigation involved dozens of interviews with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other community members, plus an extensive review of documents including correspondence, emails, and social media posts. The findings focused on what has been referred to as inappropriate or sexually oriented statements or conversations, whether spoken or written, over a period of nine months in 2020 and 2021.
The work of the investigation involved confidential material relating to students, faculty, and staff, most of whom were not the subject of the investigation. It also involved details pertaining to confidential personnel matters. “A vitally important guideline for the investigation was to protect the identity and security of anyone who may have been the subject of, or involved with, inappropriate conversations or behaviour, or may otherwise have been reluctant to share information,” said Ms. Cummings.
Key findings of the investigation, verified by the lead independent investigator, Mr. Joël Michaud, K.C., of the Fredericton law firm Pink Larkin, are contained in the attached documents, Addendums 1 and 2.
With reference to next steps following the investigation, former Board of Governors Chair, Ms. Sheila Cummings, said in a statement, “The investigation and the subsequent employment action conclude this incident, but clearly all of us at Crandall must work very hard to ensure that we maintain this very special University community at the highest standards. As the report to the Board recommends, our next step will be to focus on strengthening our harassment policies with input from our students and other members of our University community.”
“As well, we are beginning a renewed focus on education and training for faculty, staff, and students, in order to help Crandall be the safest, most welcoming, and respectful community that it can be,” added Ms. Cummings. “We will do everything in our power to support, inspire, and protect the well-being of our students.”
Crandall University is Atlantic Canada’s leading Liberal Arts University rooted in the Christian Faith, offering degree programs in Arts, Science, Business Administration, Education, and Management. To learn more, visit crandallu.ca or call 1‑888-968-6228.