AU Board opens independent investigation into university hiring procedures, drug policies

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The Ashland University Board of Trustees has hired a law firm to conduct an independent review of the university’s hiring practices and its substance abuse policies, according to an email sent to university faculty, staff, and students on Wednesday, January 23.

The email was signed by Kevin L. Doss, the chairman of the AU Board, and said the investigation, which will be done by the law firm Barnes & Thornburg, is being done in light of Brandon Campo’s recent conviction and sentencing for child endangerment and drug charges. The email was forwarded to me by someone who is not an AU employee or student. You can read the full email below.

Brandon Campo, the son of AU President Carlos Campo, had been working at the university and was arrested on campus. He was convicted of buying drugs from a student, as well as selling drugs from his home. He was living with his wife, Madeline, and their infant in the basement of Carlos Campo’s house. 

When Ashland Municipal Court Judge John Good sentenced Campo to the maximum 180 days in the county jail, he mentioned the fact that Brandon Campo has two active warrants for his arrest in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“I write to express our dismay and disappointment upon learning of Brandon Campo’s recent guilty plea and additional concerns that came to light during his sentencing hearing,” Doss wrote in his email. “As an employee of this university until June 2018 and as the son of our president, Brandon’s case left us with many unanswered questions that demand our timely and thorough inquiry.”

When Good sentenced Brandon Campo on January 18, he mentioned a letter that Margaret Pomfret, the vice president of institutional advancement, wrote as a testament to Brandon Campo’s character.

Good read from the Pomfret letter the following sentence: “I believe the poor choices he made that caused him to be charged was a one-off event, and not reflective of his character.”

“This is not a one-off event,” Good then said to Brandon Campo. “You have a criminal record that is extremely extensive.”

He then asked who was doing background checks at AU when it came to hiring administrators before launching into a long list of Brandon Campo’s criminal record, which includes multiple convictions for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including a felony OVI conviction in Las Vegas in 2012, which he he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for. He has also been convicted of theft, obstruction of justice, public intoxication, and identity theft, and arrested for possession of drugs, including crack and black tar heroin, the latter of which Good said he couldn’t find out what happened in the courts with regards to those charges. 

Good then mentioned the arrest warrants, which stem from multiple probation violations in Virginia Beach, which is where Regent University is located. Carlos Campo was president there from August 2010 to October 2013, when he quit in the middle of the academic year’s first semester. Carlos Campo was asked questions about his departure from Regent University during his deposition tied to the lawsuit filed by fired tenured faculty members against the university, but Carlos Campo said he couldn’t say why he left because there was a confidentiality agreement tied to his resignation.

“We are determined to gather all of the facts surrounding this situation and to carefully examine their implications for Ashland University,” Doss said in his email to AU faculty, staff, and students.  

He said the university hired the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg, and that they would get back to the board of trustees within 30 days.

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The Author

Matt Tullis is the author of Running With Ghosts: A Memoir of Surviving Childhood Cancer. He is the director of Digital Journalism at Fairfield University, and is the host and producer of Gangrey: The Podcast.


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