Campus Update

Bill HolderOctober 2, 20162min

The following is the text of an email sent to campus today by Michael Whaley, vice president for student affairs.

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

I’m writing to update you on a personnel matter. In June, we were contacted by a reporter from The Boston Globe, who informed us that an investigation had revealed that former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer had been terminated from his previous job at Vermont Academy for inappropriate conduct that had not been previously disclosed to us. We immediately investigated the allegations, and he was terminated within 24 hours for having concealed the matter. He was not alleged to have had any inappropriate behavior while at Wesleyan.

This was the first time that Wesleyan learned of this matter. As part of the hiring process, Wesleyan received positive reviews of Mr. Backer in written references from and phone interviews with senior administrators at Vermont Academy. Likewise, no information was revealed in the background check. Had we been aware of this information, Mr. Backer never would have been hired.

As you may be aware, in his position here at Wesleyan, Mr. Backer managed case flow for student conduct cases. He served on, and frequently led hearing panels. Wesleyan has in place a system of checks and balances (other team members, panel members, and appeal rights) to ensure all cases are adjudicated fairly and properly. In an abundance of caution, we engaged Pepper Hamilton, a nationally renowned firm with expertise in campus discipline and Title IX issues to conduct a review of cases handled by Mr. Backer. The auditors completed their review and reported no concerning issues or impropriety.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at, or Title IX Officer Antonio Farias at


Dean Mike Whaley