Not long ago an alleged sex scandal at Cleveland Community College brought down former CCC President Steve Thornburg (remember his college computer password “fuckshannon69?”). Well, Dr. Shannon L. Kennedy has just been hired as President of the Rappahannock Community College beginning in July 2019. Kennedy was offered the job that 70 nationwide candidates applied for. BTW, Rappahannock Community College is located in Virginia on a peninsula into the Chesapeake Bay bounded by the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers. The Press Release from Rappahannock Community College is attached for your convenience and information at the end of this article.
The recent alleged sex scandal between Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Thornburg resulted in Thornburg resigning and being paid off $150,000 to leave. Kennedy was “cleared” by a Lie Detector test that only asked two questions. “Did you have sex with Dr. Thornburg? Did you have sex with Dr. Thornburg?” The same question asked twice. Myself and many others doubt the voracity and reliability of such a “quickie” lie detector test. Not saying that she did. But the test itself seemed very questionable and those concerns were never properly addressed. IMO.
There were other issues and complaints about Dr. Kennedy’s leadership and methods. Many complaints that were kept confidential by the Board of Trustees All anybody ever knew was nothing happened and the BoTs would never explain or take action. That is a fact and now they find themselves in a Federal Lawsuit that is just about ready for trial by a jury. A jury that will not like what they hear.
Maybe it’s ironic, but much of the problems can be traced back to Dr. Shannon Kennedy. Thornburg, the Federal Lawsuit, etc. And now Kennedy moves on with a promotion and the BoT are stuck with a Federal Lawsuit to contend with.
Especially since they were about to promote Dr. Shannon Kennedy to President of Cleveland Community College. Of all that applied Kennedy was in the top six. These top six were offered interviews, which also included a session with students and the public asking questions. Rumors had it that Kennedy was secretly the top pick by many of the BoTs. But Kennedy stumbled bad in that student-public interview.
I was in attendance, front and center as usual, but had no intention in asking college related questions. However, after a number of questions were asked that Kennedy said they had a “strategic plan” that would resolve all those issues. Since I know about strategic plans, I decided to ask a question myself. My question was for Dr. Kennedy to describe this strategic plan she had already mentioned several times. It was all over. Kennedy lost it. She stammered a bit and then said “I don’t know what you are talking about?” Since I still had the microphone in my hand, I followed up with the basically the same question. I asked her to “please describe this “strategic plan that YOU just mentioned several times and how it would resolve those questions that were asked.” Kennedy had no answer. There was no such “strategic plan.” Kennedy had been caught in a lie and could not get out of it. She was done and the BoTs in attendance knew it too. But how did I know she was telling a fib? To tell the truth, I didn’t know Kennedy was telling a lie. Asking the question that I did was simple. I just wanted to get a copy of this strategic plan and write an article about it. Kennedy’s lie and getting caught was on her, not me. But, as I said, Kennedy was done and the path was open to hire Dr. Jason Hurst. I suppose my question and the results thereof was what saved the CCC Board of Trustees from themselves. And CCC in the process.
But I have no sympathy for the BoTs. Their inaction hurt a lot of people, justice was not done and the Federal Lawsuit came down on them-well deserved. Rightly deserved. I plan on making a trip to Asheville to watch this lawsuit myself. Just as soon as the trial date is finally set. If the BoTs were smart, they would pay off and be done with it. And, the BoTs should revisit the Kaylor Report that they refused to make public and make amends to the others that were damaged by their lack of oversight over Thornburg and Kennedy.
Thornburg has left and Kennedy is leaving, but many issues and problems remain to be resolved. None of them will be forgotten any time soon. I will be sure of that. Kennedy’s very large salary for the Executive VP position, plus the recent resignation of Eddie Holbrook, two positions (over $250,000) that should never be filled, would go a way in funding the resolutions of the various problems mentioned herein. Along with a sincere apology from the BoTs.
As for the Federal Lawsuit coming up in Asheville, I suspect Dr. Shannon Kennedy will be on the subpoena list. The BoTs might not have seen the last of her.
You may read the release here also.
Dr. Shannon L. Kennedy Hired to Become Next President of Rappahannock Community College
RICHMOND – Glenn DuBois, the chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced today that Dr. Shannon L. Kennedy, currently of Shelby, North Carolina has been hired to become the next president of Rappahannock Community College. Today’s announcement caps off a national search that attracted 70 applicants.
“Shannon has more than two decades of higher education experience with a heavy emphasis in academic affairs and workforce development training,” said DuBois. “She also offers years of experience as a college’s chief financial officer, finding ways to ensure the college operates efficiently and prioritizes resources toward serving students. We are grateful to add Shannon, and her family, to RCC and the VCCS.”
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Shannon Kennedy to Rappahannock Community College and the communities and families that it serves,” said Ellen Matthews Davis, chair of the Rappahannock Community College local board. “Her wide-ranging experience and deep background in community colleges will serve us well. We look forward to many years of growth and success with Dr. Kennedy.”
Kennedy has nearly 25 years of higher education experience and is a former television journalist.
She began her career at Gardner-Webb University, in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, in 1996 as a public relations assistant. She later worked at the college as an adjunct English professor and director of Foundation and Corporate Relations.
In 2000, Kennedy moved to Cleveland Community College, in Shelby, North Carolina to become the director of public relations and grants development. There, Kennedy has been promoted several times to positions including associate dean, dean, executive vice president of Instruction and Student Development, and to executive vice president – the position in which she currently works.
Further, she has served as an on-site reaffirmation committee member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) for eight institutions over the past seven years. Kennedy earned a bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in Pennsylvania; a master’s degree from Appalachian State University; and a doctorate from North Carolina State University.
“I’m very honored and excited to work with the great faculty and staff at Rappahannock Community College,” said Kennedy. “RCC is respected throughout the service area and provides incredible opportunities for Virginians in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck. The area is absolutely beautiful and my family and I are looking forward to relocating.”