The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Board unanimously agrees to begin Giovannini’s termination

The+board+voted+to+begin+the+termination+process+of+Chancellor+Eugene+Giovannini%E2%80%99s+contract+March+17.
The board voted to begin the termination process of Chancellor Eugene Giovannini’s contract March 17.
Eugene Giovannini                                          Alex Hoben/The Collegian

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

The board of trustees unanimously voted to begin the termination process of Chancellor Eugene Giovannini’s contract March 17. 

The decision was made during a specially called board meeting and is in the wake of a lawsuit filed against TCC Feb. 7. Executive vice chancellor and provost Elva LeBlanc will continue serving as acting chancellor for the time being. 

“We believe this action is in the college’s best long-term interest and that it is both appropriate and necessary in light of the information recently made available to the board through the independent third-party investigation,” board president Teresa Ayala read from a statement. “As this process gets underway, we are confident that the operations of the college are in good hands under the strong, capable leadership of Acting Chancellor Dr. Elva LeBlanc.”

Board members Gwen Morrison and Kenneth Barr declined to comment. The other trustees did not respond to requests seeking comment.

Associate general counsel Carol Bracken could not respond to requests seeking comment about the status of Giovannini’s termination, the status of the investigation by the Locke Lord law firm, LeBlanc’s acting chancellor term length or the lawsuit because it falls under ongoing personnel matters, pending or threatened litigation.

Giovannini has served as chancellor since 2016 and would’ve served until 2024 since his contract was amended, extending his term by a year. 

The Locke Lord law firm is currently investigating the allegations made by the former executive vice president for advancement Kristen Bennett. She alleges that Giovannini wrongfully terminated her for disciplining a female employee with whom he was having an “inappropriate, personal relationship.” 

Her attorney Frank Hill declined to comment. 

The investigation incurred over $50,000 in December and January, according to a TCC memo. The board voted March 24 to allocate $200,000 to Locke Lord’s services.

TCC filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit March 17, saying it’s not valid because Bennett willfully resigned. 

In November, she submitted her resignation, citing the emotional toll as the reason for wanting to leave, according to the lawsuit. But, she rescinded it Dec. 2. 

When news of her resignation was shared with others, former board president Conrad Heede asked to meet with her. During their meeting, Heede supported her decision to file a grievance against Giovannini. Heede also allegedly knew about the chancellor’s relationship with the unnamed female employee, according to the lawsuit.  

Bennett shared her intention to file a grievance with Ayala and the board vice president Kenneth Barr, and they also supported the decision. Heede told Bennett during an event Dec. 8 that he, Ayala and Barr would have a meeting with her to help, but that never occurred. The day after, Bennett was put on paid leave. 

Initially, the decision was thought to be recommended by the TCC Foundation board and board of trustees, but according to the lawsuit, both boards were unaware and were told she left on her own. The boards were also unaware of her rescinding her resignation.

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