Local college president subject of independent investigation, 5 of 7 board members step down

OAKDALE, Pa. — Faculty, staff and some students are raising the alarm about the leadership at Pittsburgh Technical College following a unanimous vote of no confidence in the President, Dr. Alicia-Harvey-Smith.

11 Investigates has learned an independent law firm was hired to conduct an investigation three months ago, but the findings were never made public and now 72% of the board of trustees has resigned.

We went to campus to get answers and it was immediately clear many faculty and staff feared losing their jobs for speaking up.  Steve Macri said despite that fear, he was thinking about students and the future of PTC when we decided to go on the record.

“The board’s job is oversight of the entire institution,” Steve Macri tells 11 Investigates.  “They are not living up to that. Instead, it has been a whole rash of resignations.”

Steve Macri has been with Pittsburgh Technical College for over 20 years, most recently as the Director of First Impressions.  He says faculty and staff at PTC raised concerns to the board of trustees about president Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith a few months ago.  Then, on July 27th, there was a vote of no-confidence in the president.

“It was 82-percent of staff and faculty that voted, and it was unanimous among that 82-percent that voted,” Macri said.

Then an independent investigation was conducted by an outside law firm.  Sources tell 11 Investigates, dozens of faculty and staff were interviewed.

“We were never provided with the results of the investigation,” Macri added.

This past Saturday, the vote of no confidence was made public to students. At that point, three board members had resigned.

“A lot of it raises questions about what we should expect to see and what is the future here at PTC and a lot of students have felt the same,” student, Zachary Kolich said.

As of Thursday, five of seven board members have quit.

“That says to me the board doesn’t have the best interest of the school in mind,” Macri added.

11 Investigates was provided multiple whistleblower reports saying in part:

“The current chaos puts at risk the college’s accreditation, current and future enrollment and financial solvency.”

The report also cited: “Numerous irresponsible, financial decisions” and “failure to recognize laws, regulations and PTC’s own policies.”

Sources tell 11 Investigates a $300,000-400,000 office was constructed for the President, complete with what’s described as a waterfall.  Channel 11 has not seen the office for ourselves.  The President also wasn’t in the office when we visited campus to ask questions.  In fact, staff and faculty told us the President hasn’t been on campus since July when the independent investigation began.

We reached out to Harvey-Smith’s executive assistant who told us she’d be calling us. She never did.

We also tried to reach out to the current and former board members. Their contact information and email addresses aren’t public.

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