Dismissed professor addresses University

Ally Taylor

Former associate professor in the business law and marketing departments Sebastian Rainone has chosen to tell his side of the story regarding his recent disbarment and dismissal from the University.

In a letter addressed to the University community (see Page 6), Rainone attempts to explain details he feels were missing from an article published in The Villanova Times last Wednesday. The article mentioned that the administration had “employed the necessary due process as dictated by the faculty handbook before issuing the dismissal.”

However, Rainone writes in his letter that he feels “the ‘due process’ of Villanova is not over but has just begun.”

Matthew Brady, co-editor in chief of the Times and author of the article “VU Business Professor Disbarred and Dismissed,” held his position that the information presented in last week’s article was accurate, citing an interview with Vice President for Academic Affairs John Johannes.

“Dr. Johannes said he was unable to comment on the exact process, but that they gave him due process,” Brady said in an e-mail. “That was directly taken from an interview with Dr. Johannes.”

Johannes confirmed Rainone’s dismissal.

“The judicial system in Pennsylvania has found that he has engaged in conduct which they deem is sufficiently harmful so as to warrant disbarment,” he said. “So from the University’s perspective, it is very, very difficult for us to have someone teaching business law and business ethics who has been disbarred.”

While Rainone is not currently teaching, the dismissal allows for a lengthy appeals process.

“A dismissal is a dismissal, and, for example, if he chose not to appeal it, then he would no longer be a faculty member at Villanova,” Johannes said. “Technically, he has been dismissed from his faculty position, but he has the right to appeal it.”

Johannes said that, for all dismissed or suspended faculty members, the dismissal and suspension process begins with a letter from the University president notifying the faculty member of his or her dismissal or suspension. Such a letter was sent to Rainone on Jan. 29. Included with the letter was a copy of the dismissal procedure and a notification informing him that he has the opportunity to submit a written request to obtain a hearing within a timely fashion of receiving the letter.

Rainone elected not to comment, allowing his letter to speak for itself. Currently, it is unknown whether or not he plans to request a hearing.

According to the Faculty Handbook, if a hearing were requested, the Committee on Faculty would assemble a committee to handle the appeal. This committee would organize and conduct the hearing, and the faculty member as well as a representative of the president would present his or her case. Both parties have the opportunity to challenge a member of the committee in a timely fashion before the hearing begins.

After the hearing, the committee is responsible for reaching a negotiation, if possible. If not, it must file a report to be given to the president. The faculty member or president’s representative can file an objection pertaining to the committee’s proceedings. Both the report and any objections are submitted to the president, who would then make a decision regarding the suspension or dismissal.

“The process itself is kept confidential,” Johannes said. “There are all sorts of provisions giving protection to the faculty member, making sure there is an open and fair process.”

Rainone taught courses in business law and ethics for the Villanova School of Business for over 30 years and won the prestigious Lindback Award for Teaching Excellence.

“Everybody is very sympathetic with Sebastian Rainone,” Johannes said. “He is a much-liked and well-respected person.”