Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it was first posted
Warren Swil, a journalism professor who advises the Courier was put on administrative leave on March 28, leaving the staff with the immense pressure of putting out a paper while grappling with the fact that the top story they had to investigate centered around their former adviser.
Swil has advised the Courier since 2007 and has been told that he is not allowed to comment on being placed on administrative leave.
â€œIâ€™m not at liberty to speak about it,â€ Swil said. He was advised in a letter that he should not talk to anybody about the matter.
On Wednesday however, Swil spoke to KPCC about his present state of mind. “This entire situation is enormously stressful,” Swil told KPCC. “I have been placed under medical supervision.”
Officially, Swil was placed on administrative leave due to â€œemployee misconduct,â€ with the specific details yet to be released.
Joe Futtner, the dean of the visual arts and media studies division, said that Swilâ€™s leave will continue â€œpending the outcome of an investigation.â€ Futtner also added that the nature of the complaint made against Swil is, and will remain confidential.
The whole sequence of events of Swilâ€™s departure caught the entire staff off guard. He was escorted off campus minutes before the Journalism class, leaving a room of curious journalists wondering why he wasnâ€™t there.
As the story unfolded, Courier editors became suspicious after the newspaper adviser was put on leave just two days after President Mark Rocha visited the newsroom and made it clear that he had a problem with the Courierâ€™s coverage.
While the timing seemed suspicious the administration has made numerous statements to assure people that the decision was not retaliatory against the paper.
On Monday, Bob Bell, senior vice president and assistant superintendent of business and college services, refuted speculation that the decision to place Swil on administrative leave or that it had anything to do with the Courierâ€™s recent coverage.
â€œI made the decision that placing Prof. Swil on paid leave was legally required and was necessary for the protection of the complainant,â€ Bell said in a statement. â€œIt would be an invasion of Prof. Swilâ€™s privacy, and that of the complainant, to publish details of the allegations in order to let the college community know this has absolutely nothing to do with retaliation.”
However, in the same statement to the campus, Bell wrote that the schoolâ€™s general counsel, Gail Cooper, informed FA President Roger Marheine of the specific details of the complaint, a stark contrast to their earlier assertion of placing individual privacy as paramount importance.
Marheine would not comment on what Cooper told him.
The complainant confirmed with the Courier that he did make a formal complaint against Swil, but did not go into detail about it. The complainant wishes to remain anonymous, and referred the reporter to his lawyer for comment. The attorney, Kevin Rehwald, also declined to comment.
The Faculty Association also chimed in, chastising the administration who they say made the decision to remove Swils was made â€œwithout notice.â€
â€œIt is regrettable in the extreme that the ones to suffer most from Swilâ€™s forced departure are the students,â€ the FA statement reads.
â€œThe administrationâ€™s callous disregard for their interests speaks volumes about its priorities.â€
The Courier will continue to publish online and in the print edition every Thursday as planned.