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October 3, 2023

Nichols College president resigns amid investigation into Coast Guard misconduct

Photo | Matt Wright Former Nichols College President Glenn Sulmasy

Glenn Sulmasy is out as Nichols College president, according to an announcement posted Tuesday afternoon to the Dudley school’s website.

Sulmasy submitted his resignation Tuesday to the Board of Trustees as the school conducts an investigation in allegations of impropriety by Sulmasy while he served as an instructor and official at the United States Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. The allegations were first uncovered in an ongoing CNN investigation of the academy, which included that Sulmasy exchanged sexually inappropriate text messages with students, some of which implied he would trade favorable academic treatment in exchange for images.

“In light of these reports and facts uncovered to date during the College’s ongoing investigation, and their impact on President Sulmasy’s ability to lead Nichols College, the Board strongly believes the institution’s best interest is to pursue new leadership,” read a Tuesday statement on Nichols’ website.

The college will launch a national search for a new president. In the meantime, Vice President for Advancement Bill Pieczynski will continue in his role as acting president.

In July, CNN reported that while serving at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut he advised a female cadet not to pursue rape allegations against a male cadet. In September, the school launched an investigation and Sulmasy took a voluntary leave of absence.

Following the announcement of the investigation, on Sept. 21 CNN reported that while at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Sulmasy exchanged more than 1,600 texts, some racy and implying academic favoritism with another cadet. As part of its investigation, CNN uncovered more allegations of impropriety. Sulmasy’s lawyer Jeffrey Robbins told CNN the texts were consensual in nature.

The school’s investigator, Pembroke law firm Clifford & Kenny, will soon issue a formal report to the school, which Nichols intends to keep confidential.

Sulmasy commenced in his role as Nichols president on July 1, 2021. Previously, he served as provost and chief academic officer at Bryant University, where he was placed on probation following the Coast Guard revoking a recommendation of Sulmasy. Bryant University previously did not respond to a WBJ request for information about whether Bryant made the probation clear to Nichols College prior to his being hired.

During the Nichols’ investigation, Sulmasy was barred from contact with anyone from Nichols. He is also barred from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy campus.

A message sent to Sulmasy’s attorney on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Nichols College enrolled 1,206 students in the fall 2022 semester, the most recent year available, and has an endowment of more than $27 million, according to the WBJ Research Department.

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