Campus, Investigative, News

Six months later, Boston University remains silent on Shiney James investigation

Over six months after accusations against Shiney James were brought to light, Boston University has remained silent on the status of the former director of Orientation. 

Now, with Orientation training on the horizon, some are wondering whatever happened to James and the subsequent investigation.

shiney james
Shiney James, former director of orientation at Boston University. With 2022 orientation training sessions coming up, Assistant Director Kyle Levesque will take on James’ role. BU has not provided any further updates on the investigation into James’ treatment toward student employees. COURTESY OF JACKIE RICCIARDI VIA BU TODAY

“I hope to hear something but I haven’t heard anything and I never heard back from the third party once I talk to her,” said Rachel McLean, a 2018 College of Communication who came forward with allegations against James in October 2021. “I’m disappointed that we haven’t heard anything, but I also, knowing BU, understand why they may not have published anything yet.”

James was put under University investigation soon after The Daily Free Press published an article last fall detailing multiple testimonials from former Orientation student leaders alleging she created a hostile and “toxic” work environment over the course of her 15 years as director. 

Over 200 comments posted below the article corroborated the accounts.

In the aftermath, University Provost Jean Morrison announced in a letter that James will not work directly with students in this summer’s upcoming Orientation sessions. Assistant Director Kyle Levesque will take on the role instead.

When pressed for an update on the investigation into James, BU spokesperson Colin Riley wrote that he is “not able to comment on your questions at this time, but will when I am able to do so.” 

External “fact-finder” Amy Serino, retained by the University, also declined to comment on the investigation.

Many former Orientation staff members said they have not been contacted by the University for testimony or updates. Naveen Inim, a second year graduate student in COM, said it was “really odd” that she was not contacted despite being quoted in the first James article.

“It’s very disappointing given how public that story was, and how much traction it got online, to not have any sort of transparency about any of it,” Inim said.

McLean said she talked to Serino twice since the investigation launched. According to McLean, Serino said the University would likely not communicate with the affected persons or the third party investigator before a decision was made. 

“She was saying that I likely would not hear anything and that she also could potentially not hear anything,” McLean added. “She said she’s done these kinds of cases before and her job is purely to just collect the information and share it with the University.”

For this year’s Orientation session, 2020 graduate Allison Casey said she doesn’t know how the program will be run without James’ direction.

“It just doesn’t seem feasible because we interacted with Shiney 24/7 during Orientation and she was always there,” Casey said. 

The first Orientation session usually takes place in early June, with students having been trained by late May.

“I hope that she’s no longer working with students, especially with summer Orientation coming up,” McLean said. “It would be interesting to see how Orientation is organized this coming summer.”


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  1. Anonymous BU alum

    Having worked orientation, commented on the original article, and spoken with the third party investigator to provide my experiences with Shiney, I am also disappointed in the lack of follow-up and “crickets” regarding this investigation. Thank you FreeP (once again) for providing updates to this story. When the story broke in the fall, one of my strongest beliefs was (and still is) that Shiney and the entire orientation program should be overhauled in time for the next orientation cycle. With the semester coming to an end and the summer about to begin, who knows what the status of that is? BU students should not have to work the orientation program after such massively reported toxic work environment claims. Do better BU.

  2. I wonder how many students will apply to work orientation this year …………………..

  3. Anonymous Alum & Now Former Donor

    Boston University needs to start realizing that lack of transparency and not advocating for students first when abuse occurs results in lack of confidence, and a sinking feeling that as long as donations keep rolling in and tuition can remain almost 76,000 a year, nothing else matters. Look nowhere else but your leadership – just like having the trustee meeting on the busiest holiday weekend of the year when everyone is gone or distracted. We see you President Brown and trustees . These silent messages instead of transparency are lowering confidence in BU and its priorities daily.
    This sad message to terriers affects their wellbeing too. But that too doesn’t seem to have been a priority for years now. Do better BU.
    The buck stops with you.

  4. As an alum and donor, especially one being cultivated for a major gift, I am extremely upset to hear how BU continues to ignore their students. You ignore sexual harassment and assault on campus. You ignore abuse from your Director of Orientation. What else is happening? I agree with the other commentator who said that there is a lack of transparency. It’s time to clean house. Starting with the highest levels of leadership.

  5. Yeah, this seems like a whole lot of nothing at this point. I’m unfamiliar with how long “fact finding investigations” can go on, but I’ve been assured by many others than 7 months is…ridiculous. I suspect she’ll be kept on regardless of the outcome of that investigation (which I suspect is long concluded!)

    Orientation hires in Feb/March, so all systems are go for summer. That means there’s a whole new team of students now for summer ’22. Orientation website just lists the assistant director and the office manager, not Shiney…but her LinkedIn says she’s still (at least formally) director.

    I’ve been reading about management recently. Lots of bad practices in that office for sure! I have to resign myself that this is now over, and not with the results the victims had hoped for.