Newspapers Stolen, Ippolito Comes Forward

Kiosks Empty on Admitted Students Day,
Director of University Admissions Confesses in Email

By Elizabeth White, News Editor

Three hundred dollars-worth of the March 30 edition of The Equinox went missing before Admitted Students Day on Sunday, April 2.  Four days later, Director of Admissions Drew Ippolito emailed a confession and apology for the theft.

Prior to the commencement of Admitted Students Day at 9 a.m., members of The Equinox observed that the kiosks in the Library, University Hall, Alumni Hall, Becton Hall, the Dickinson Lobby, the SUB basement, the SUB lobby and the outdoor kiosk between Alumni and University Halls were empty. The newspapers were believed to have been taken between 2 p.m. Saturday and early Sunday morning.

Dr. Karen Buzzard, director of the school of art and media studies, reported the papers missing via email on Monday, April 3 to the Director of Public Safety Dave Miles, Associate Vice President of Human Resources Rose D’Ambrosio, University College Dean Patti Mills and University Provost Robert Vodde.

The Provost’s office informed The Equinox that Public Safety was going to investigate the removal of the newspapers by looking at the footage from surveillance cameras around campus.

In an email addressed to The Equinox’s Editor-in-Chief Melanie Perez on Thursday, April 6, Ippolito confessed to removing the newspapers because he “had wanted any discussion about the newspaper, its stories, etc. to occur with The Equinox representatives that were on-hand at the Student Union Building (SUB) that afternoon for Admitted Students Day.”

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He copied Dr. Bruno Battistoli, advisor of The Equinox, President Chris Capuano, Provost Vodde and D’Ambrosio in the email.

Perez filed a formal complaint via email with Human Resources against Ippolito for his actions after receiving his confession, and asked for information regarding what disciplinary action the administration would be taking against Ippolito.

D’Ambrosio did not include specifics of the disciplinary action to be taken.

“Mr. Ippolito has been disciplined in accordance with the University’s Code of Conduct outlined in the Employee Handbook,” D’Ambrosio wrote. “He is also required to reimburse the value of the missing newspapers ($300.00) to the Equinox. These funds will be reallocated to The Equinox budget.”

Perez again asked D’Ambrosio about the specifics of the disciplinary actions the administration had decided on for Ippolito in a follow up email. D’Ambrosio declined to say.

“As with students that are subject to the Student Code of Conduct, the discipline of employees is a confidential matter,” D’Ambrosio wrote. “I apologize, but I am not at liberty to share any more information.”

She also mentioned that members of the administration were alerted to the situation when the theft was reported, and that President Capuano contacted Human Resources to conduct an investigation.

“Please be advised that President Capuano became aware of this matter on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, and contacted me immediately to conduct an investigation into the missing Equinox newspapers,” D’Ambrosio wrote.

The investigation by Human Resources concluded that Ippolito, “unilaterally made the decision to have the newspapers removed in preparation for Admitted Students Day,” D’Ambrosio wrote.

The Equinox reached out via email to President Capuano, Provost Vodde, Dean Mills, Miles and University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Gillian Small for comments on Ippolito’s confession.

Provost Vodde said that he was aware of this “most unfortunate situation” and said that President Capuano and Provost Small would be responding to The Equinox’s request for comments.

President Capuano deemed Ippolito’s actions to be “very inappropriate” and assured The Equinox that appropriate actions have been taken.

“HR has since disciplined Mr. Ippolito in accordance with the University’s Code of Conduct Policy for employees,” Capuano wrote.

Capuano reiterated his support for student freedom of speech.

“We value the freedom of expression for our students and will always do what is necessary to ensure that this freedom is not violated,” Capuano wrote.

Small had a similar statement regarding Ipollito’s actions.

“I was made aware of this unfortunate incident and understand that measures have been taken to ensure this won’t happen again,” Small wrote. “I greatly value the freedom of expression for our students, as does the rest of the senior administration.”

Public Safety Director Miles declined to comment due to confidentiality rules.

Dean Mills did not  respond to The Equinox’s request for comments.

Vice President for Facilities and Auxiliary Services Richard Frick did not respond to multiple requests for comments.