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September 26, 2023

Sulmasy prohibited from Nichols College contact, as Coast Guard Academy bars him from campus amid investigation

Photo | Matt Wright Former Nichols College President Glenn Sulmasy

Nichols College has asked its president, Glenn Sulmasy, to stay away from all college personnel as it looks into an increasing number of allegations against him as part of a CNN investigative report into improprieties at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where he has been banned since Sept. 12.

“During this investigation, President Sulmasy is to have no contact with Nichols faculty, students or staff; he is cooperating with these arrangements,” Suzanne Hofmann, Nichols College vice president for marketing and communications, wrote in a Monday email to WBJ. 

Sulmasy took a leave of absence as Nichols’ president earlier in September following a July investigative report by CNN, claiming he had discouraged a woman from pursuing rape allegation against another cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Then, on Thursday CNN reported Sulmasy exchanged racy texts with a female USCG student during his time at the academy, some suggesting favoritism. Sulmasy’s attorney said the texts were consensual.

On Friday, CNN published a new report, saying when Sulmasy was serving as provost of Bryant University in Rhode Island in 2016, Bryant placed Sulmasy on probation after the Coast Guard revoked its previous recommendation of Sulmasy for Byrant’s provost position.

Sulmasy was serving as Bryant’s provost when he was hired as Nichols’ president in 2021. The CNN report didn’t indicate whether Bryant made Nichols aware of these issues prior to him being hired as president.

When reached by WBJ, Nichols declined to comment on whether it was aware of the Coast Guard’s concerns when the school hired him.

“As we stated previously, by policy the College doesn’t comment on personnel matters or ongoing investigations. We can confirm that President Sulmasy remains on a leave of absence while the College completes a third-party investigation into his conduct while employed at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy,” Hofman said. “The College will have a reply once our investigation has concluded.”

Bryant University did not respond to WBJ requests for information. 

After the allegations last week, Nichols College also removed from its website the president’s blog – Direct Connections From The Hill – in which Sulmasy last posted in 2022.

Following the July reporting of a CNN, the United States Coast Guard Academy issued a barment order to Sulmasy on Sept. 12, wrote Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Bacon of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy public affairs office in a Tuesday email to WBJ.

According to the public affairs office, an internal email was sent out on behalf of the Superintendent, Rear Admiral Michael Johnston, to USCG faculty and staff on Friday announcing the ban.

The academy also released a statement on social media: “Last night the media reported on alleged misconduct by the former head of the Department of Humanities,” read a statement from Johnston on the academy’s Facebook account posted on Friday. “The new allegations from the media report, which had not been previously reported to the Coast Guard, have been referred to the Coast Guard Investigative Service.”

When contacted by WBJ, Sulmasy’s lawyer Jeffrey Robbins had no comment on the Coast Guard ban. 

Nichols’ Vice President of Advancement Bill Pieczynski is the acting president while the Sulmasy matter is being investigated, according to Nichols.

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