(THis story was updated a 8:50 a.m. to say that Dave Clark, the faculy adviser to the CMU student newspaper, was reinstated to the board of the Michigan Press Association.)
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 25 — Three Central Michigan University employees who were placed on paid leave based on allegations that they knew about an abusive and “toxic” workplace environment at Vanguard Public Relations in downtown Lansing have returned to work.
A CMU spokesman said the three staffers — journalism professors Steve Coon and Jim Wojcik and student newspaper advisor Dave Clark — returned Monday, but the “investigation” into the allegations are ongoing. All three had been suspended because former students who either interned or worked for Vanguard had allegedly informed them of the “creepy” behavior of its CEO and CMU graduate TJ Bucholz. Inquiries from City Pulse and information relayed during interviews with university officials directly resulted in the suspensions, CMU officials confirmed.
CMU would confirm only that the three employees had returned to work but refused to elaborate on when the investigation and final report would be released. Coon did not respond to an email request for comment. Wojcik referred questions to the university’s public relations team.
Clark said he was eager to sit down with top CMU officials on how to “improve as a university.”
“As a CMU employee and alumnus, I wholeheartedly support investigating any threats facing our students,” Clark wrote in an email statement.
Meanwhile, Clark was reinstated Tuesday to the board of the Michigan Press Association, from which he had been suspended pending the outcome of the CMU probe.
In an email to Clark, MPA board president Julie Stafford wrote that he had been suspended because of a bylaw requirement, not a judgment on his guilt. She said the decision to reinstate him was unanimous.
"You are a great mentor for your students and also a great partner for those of us publishers who have had the opportunity to work with you," Stafford also said.
Vanguard came under scrutiny in March after seven former employees told City Pulse about their experiences at the “rich stew of grossness” at the public relations firm. Bucholz did not respond to inquiries this week — although Facebook Messenger showed he saw the inquiry — about the future of Vanguard. Some have reported seeing moving trucks at his former office.