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Chattanooga College Officials Involved in Hiring Scandal Out

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A Chattanooga State Community College administrator whose hiring led to a Board of Regents investigation of the school’s longtime president has been fired.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports Lisa Haynes was fired Monday by new Interim President Warren Nichols on his first day on campus. Longtime President Jim Catanzaro retired Dec. 31 in the midst of campus discontent with his leadership. The new president also fired Human Resources Director Tom Crum, who participated in Haynes’ hiring.

Catanzaro met Haynes while on vacation in Barbados. He hired her in 2013 although she had not earned a bachelor’s degree. She soon was promoted and given a six-figure salary.

Widespread faculty questions about Haynes’ role and qualifications as well as college-funded trips by Haynes and Catanzaro prompted a Board of Regents investigation.

That audit, released Dec. 15, detailed how the college failed to confirm Haynes’ degree status and failed to verify her previous work success. It also found that Crum started Haynes’ visa paperwork before she or other candidates even interviewed for the post.

A separate audit from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury has not yet been released.

Interim President Nichols, a vice chancellor with the Tennessee Board of Regents, said of the firings, “It was just one of those things that, frankly, I believed we needed to get concluded so the college could focus on what’s truly important, which is our students.”

Faculty Senate President Kenneth Goldsmith said the faculty was relieved to hear that Haynes had been fired.

“The number one question from the faculty’s mind was, ‘What’s the status of Lisa Haynes?'” Goldsmith said.

He said faculty members, many of whom voted no confidence in Catanzaro’s leadership, now feel more positive about the school’s trajectory.

“This opens the door to rebuilding the culture and really forming a strong, positive culture,” he said. “Faculty seem very upbeat now.”

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