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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Chancellor put on paid leave; Elva LeBlanc chosen as acting chancellor

Chancellor Eugene Giovannini speaks during the board of trustees meeting Feb. 17. Alex Hoben/The Collegian
Chancellor Eugene Giovannini speaks during the board of trustees meeting Feb. 17.
Alex Hoben/The Collegian

JOSÉ ROMERO
editor-in-chief
collegian.editor@tccd.edu

The board of trustees put Chancellor Eugene Giovannini on paid administrative leave Feb. 17 until the investigation into the allegations made against him is complete. Executive vice chancellor and provost Elva LeBlanc has been chosen as acting chancellor for the time being. 

“It is in the best interest of all parties to complete the investigation and reach the right conclusion without further distraction,” board president Teresa Ayala read from a statement. “Policy dictates that a respondent is not presumed responsible for the alleged conduct unless or until a determination is made at the conclusion of the process. However, the board has an obligation to treat the chancellor as we would any employee under these circumstances.”

LeBlanc, Ayala, vice chancellor for communications and external affairs Reginald Gates and joint consultation committee chair Mike Downs did not respond to requests for comment. 

This decision was made during a four-hour-long closed session that concluded at 1 a.m., and is in light of a lawsuit filed Feb. 7 against TCC in which the former executive vice president for advancement Kristen Bennett alleged she was wrongfully terminated for disciplining a female employee with whom the chancellor was having an “inappropriate, personal relationship.”

Board member Gwendolyn Morrison initiated the motion, and board vice president Kenneth Barr seconded it while expressing confidence in LeBlanc. 

“I know it from my own personal experience that she is strong, respected in the community, and I think she has a lot of credibility with the members of this board,” Barr said. “Therefore, I second the motion.”

LeBlanc made a statement Feb. 18 in a video sent out to employees where she thanked the board for placing its confidence in her. 

“Now, the TCC community is experiencing turbulent times, and many employees have asked what can I do to help,” LeBlanc said. “By concentrating on our students, we will come through this.” 

LeBlanc is a former NE student and previously served as NW Campus’ president for 10 years. She became the vice chancellor and provost June 1, 2017.

“I believe in Tarrant County College,” she said in a 2017 interview with The Collegian. “It is a great institution with a lot of highly qualified people.” 

Bennett’s attorney Frank Hill said it’s encouraging to see how prompt TCC was in its response.

“I don’t take any pleasure in the fact that Giovannini has been put on administrative leave,” he said. “I think it’s inappropriate to take pleasure in somebody else’s pain. It’s just what has to be done.” 

The Collegian will continue to update the story.

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