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.
“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.”