Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities no longer employed at the College
Julia Garrison, Contributing Writer
In email correspondence with The Voice on April 24, Dean Cliff Bobbitt confirmed that Dr. Amy Franklin-Craft is “no longer at the College.” The email to The Voice comes after four weeks of investigative reporting on the College’s overall conduct process.
The Voice began chronicling the conduct process in March and monitoring the changes that would be implemented to both the conduct process and the Scot’s Key at large in an article entitled “Mission and Outcomes puts conduct process under review” published on April 7, 2023. Grace Braver ’23, Vice President of Scot Council, provided information about the importance of the revision of the Scot’s Key. Braver also stressed the work that was done by her fellow members of Scot Council, and the support of Deans Ashley Reid and Cliff Bobbitt.
“The [deans] have been absolutely amazing and supportive in my process to review and revise the conduct system,” Braver explained via email with The Voice. “They also want a system that better serves the student body and are willing and actively engaging in conversations with students.” Braver explained that the deans were helpful and forthcoming, which made the process of putting the conduct process under review easier.
The conduct process was put under review earlier this year after Scot Council presented proposed changes to the Scot’s Key and the conduct process to the Board of Trustees at the Missions and Outcomes meeting on Feb. 23. This presentation to the trustees in attendance consisted of proposed changes that the Council would like to see come to Wooster, alongside comparing the current conduct process to other liberal arts schools in the Great Lakes Association. The Voice article published following the Missions and Outcomes meeting also featured attempted correspondence with Dr. Franklin-Craft and other members of Wooster’s Faculty & Staff Conduct Committee. Although The Voice had originally asked to have Dr. Franklin-Craft respond to questions via email, Dr. Franklin-Craft requested a meeting to “learn what [the Voice correspondent is] hoping to write about beyond the three questions … provided,” and that she would “most likely want to respond in writing.” Dr. Franklin-Craft was scheduled to meet with The Voice before the article was sent for publication; however, just hours before the meeting was supposed to occur, she canceled, citing that “a colleague and [her were] preparing for an extensive issue that [would] be occurring over the next two weeks. We are running out of time.” Not soon after this correspondence, but past the deadline for the article’s publication, Dr. Franklin-Craft asked if she could respond to The Voice’s questions originally posed to the entirety of the Conduct Committee. However, she never followed up with responses to the questions posed.
Following the publication of the April 7 article, Dr. Franklin-Craft sent an email to Wooster’s student body that invited students to share their feedback on the conduct process and the Scot’s Key on Monday, April 17, 2023, in Lowry Student Center at 8:00 p.m. Students arrived at Lowry Student Center at 8:00 p.m. to an empty room, with no members from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities present. The meeting was never formally canceled, but when referring to 25Live, the College’s events calendar, the event seemed to have been rescheduled to the following week on Monday, April 24.
With the cancellation of the meeting published in the paper with no official rescheduling, The Voice reached out to Dr. Franklin-Craft once more to receive a comment on why the meeting was canceled, when it would be rescheduled and if it would be recorded. This email inquiry received an automated reply, explaining that all inquiries should be forwarded to Dean Ashley Reid, who is serving as the Interim Associate Vice President of Student Affairs. Dr. Franklin-Craft’s information had been taken off the official staff directory and The College of Wooster websites without any official announcement.
The Voice reached out to Human Resources (HR) to inquire about the removal of Dr. Franklin-Craft’s profile on all Wooster-related directories. HR provided no comment on this issue, and when asked to confirm if Dr. Franklin-Craft was no longer employed by the College, they explained that they are not “able to verify employment status without signed consent from the individual the inquiry is regarding.” Upon traveling to the Dean of Students’ wing in Lowry Student Center and inquiring about a directory of offices, the office of the Dean of Students (which includes the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities) was unable to provide a directory of offices and when asked about reaching Dr. Franklin-Craft, was forwarded to Deans Reid and Bobbitt. Later in the afternoon, Dean Bobbitt confirmed via email that Dr. Franklin-Craft was no longer “at the College.”
Dr. Franklin-Craft’s departure from the College comes after a storied history of tension with students. Nearly two years ago, a change.org petition was anonymously started by a “concerned student at Wooster” titled “Review Amy Franklin-Craft’s position as the Director of Student Rights & Responsibility.” This petition had over 700 signatures from students, alumni and other online supporters. Comments, referred to as “reasons for signing” on the website, included different perspectives from students and parents, either anonymous or public. One comment explained that Dr. Franklin-Craft does “not act in students’ interests nor does she enact policies
legitimately beneficial to the College.” More comments used phrases and words like “unprofessional,” “abuse of power” and “unfair” throughout.
Around the same time of this petition, The Voice’s 2021-22 Editor-in-Chief Aspen Rush published an article entitled “C.O.W. Clarifies Inconsistent Conduct Enforcement,” which followed the clarification of the conduct process after “a series of conduct violations that were questioned by students.” Rush’s article explained that the conduct policies were re-explained in an email from Johnathon Reynolds, Director of Residence Life, to all students. In this article, past Scot Council members expressed the need for consistency in the conduct process. Rachel Catus ’22 explained that “there is often confusion or misinformation being spread due to a lack of consistent functioning.” This point has also been brought up by the present members of Scot Council in their presentation to the Board of Trustees.
On April 24, 2023, Scot Council hosted a meeting in “lieu of [the] conduct meeting” that was previously scheduled. Dean Bobbitt was in attendance, as well as Scot Council members, namely Noah Golovan ’23 and Grace Braver ’23. At this meeting, Scot Council first fielded questions about what non-Council meeting-goers would like to see changed about the conduct process. The Council then shared the PowerPoint that was shared with the Board of Trustees during their March meeting.
Currently, there has been no job posting or replacement search for Dr. Franklin Craft’s position as the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Deans Reid and Bobbitt are currently assuming the responsibilities of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities.There was no information provided to The Voice on the nature of Dr. Franklin-Craft’s departure from the College at the time of publication.