The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Palm Beach State College - Massage Therapy Program — Devious Hiring Practices - Cheryl Gieses, Lynda Robbins, Margi Foley
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
I would like to bring to everyone’s attention the sneaky and devious hiring practices of Palm Beach State College, formally known as Palm Beach Community College. There used to be a massage therapist by the name of Lynda Robbins who was a massage instructor at the college for many years. It just so happens that Lynda Robbins was not well liked by her fellow instructors or the director of the program Cheryl Gieses. Lynda endured many years of verbal abuse and passive aggressive behavior from the program director. Lynda’s teaching style was always questioned even though she was adored and respected by her students, who by the way always exceeded course requirements. Cheryl Gieses lodged many bogus written reprimands against her and Lynda was essentially fired at the end of the year 2009. Everyone outside the “inner circle” i.e. students, fellow workers was told that Lynda left to pursue other career options but Lynda fought vigorously to maintain her position with the college and was simply forced to resign.
Now for the devious part of the story… The person hand picked by Cheryl Gieses to replace Lynda Robbins was Margi Foley (LMT) of 2617 Zorno Way, Delray Beach Florida. Margi had been working at Palm Beach State College as an adjunct massage instructor for many years and was considered by many Cheryl’s “little pet”. So when Lynda was fired Margi joined the candidate list for the massage instructor position and went through the hiring process with about 4 or 5 other candidates. Here is where it gets interesting. Palm Beach State College requires that all their instructors have at least a 2-year college degree. Margi Foley does not have any college degree. Also, there were allegations of sexual misconduct on Margi Foley’s behalf. Specifically it is alleged that she made an advance toward a married student from a previous class. (You can read Margi Foley’s response to the allegations below)
Now I know for a fact that Palm Beach State College did an investigation into this allegation, however the investigation lasted only two days and consisted of about 3 or 4 phone calls. Does that sound like a thorough investigation? This would be a good example of “brushing something under the rug”. And this is all documented in Margi Foley’s employee file with Palm Beach State College. I am sure the file is hidden in the super secret locked file cabinet at HR.
So I have three questions:
1. How can an instructor (Lynda Robbins) who is adored and respected by her students (whom by the way all scored above the course requirements) lose her job so easily?
2. How can an unqualified candidate (Margi Foley) who does not have a 2-year college degree and who had allegations of making sexual advances toward a married student beat out 4 other fully qualified candidates for the massage therapy instructor job at Palm Beach State College?
3. Why would Palm Beach State College want to have unqualified massage therapist instructors with allegations of sexual misconduct on their staff?
Lastly, if you start doing google searches on “margi foley” or “margi foley massage” you will find other bothersome postings related to her.
**** Margi Foleys response to the allegations levied against her****
To: Ms. Shannon Whitman
From: Margi Foley
Date: June 22, 2010
Re: Anonymous Complaint
I am writing this in response to our discussion earlier today wherein an anonymous complaint against me was addressed. While I am deeply disturbed with regard to the complaint itself, I can assure you that none of the alleged accusations made in the complaint have any merit whatsoever.
I have read the complaint several times and, while I will address each specific allegation, I wish to clearly state that the complaint appears to me to be an attack on the possibility that I may be chosen to fill the full-time position currently available for an instructor in our program.
It is my intention to cooperate fully in any investigation regarding the allegations in the complaint and encourage you to speak to any of my current or past students, as well as my colleagues, regarding my character. I believe you will find that I conduct myself with professionalism and take pride in my ability to do so.
While I realize that the complaint was made anonymously and, in my opinion, that very fact raises suspicion regarding its validity, a few things stand out and I would like to address them up front. First, and foremost, while the complaint purports to come from a “family member” of a “former student” in the massage therapy program, certain verbiage suggests to me that the author was closely associated with the intricacies of our program which would not be common knowledge to anyone outside of employment in our department. The author, while claiming to be speaking on behalf of a former student who graduated long enough ago to have completed our program and passed the national board exam, references the current name of the college as PBSC (which we have only been known by as of January 12, 2010) as opposed to PBCC which was the name of the college during the time in question. It also correctly references me as “a part-time instructor…is being considered for a full-time instructor position”. The complaint contains many references to inside details and descriptions (i.e. “full-time lab instructor”, “program manager Sheryl Giese” which correctly references her position and correctly spells her unusually spelled name, “student/teacher boundaries were constantly being blurred”, “professional integrity”, “it would probably be easiest to give the position to Margi….and is familiar with protocols”, “state licensing exam”) which would not be the expected vocabulary of a “layperson”. In fact, while all of these details are correctly referenced, it is highly suspicious that the author chose to spell Lynda’s name incorrectly.
Additionally, while the complaint attempts to accuse me of unprofessional conduct, it seems to be just as much, if not more, about Lynda Robbins and the belief that “Linda did not choose to leave the college, but that she was terminated”. The conditions behind Lynda’s departure have never been discussed, to my knowledge, in anything other than general terms, inside or outside of our department and certainly not with any student, current or former. Some of the students have returned and asked about Lynda and we have simply told them exactly what the complaint initially provides, that Lynda “would not be returning and that she was choosing to leave the college and pursue other interests”.
It is my belief that this complaint is a thin disguise from a disgruntled employee or from someone speaking of behalf of same. It is also curious to me that the complaint comes at least seven months after the graduation of the last class being taught by Lynda Robbins and at the exact time that I am being considered for the impending full-time position…also something that would not be known to the general public. Furthermore, I am being made aware of this complaint exactly two days after I had a conversation with Charles Mindell, a fellow adjunct instructor, where he told me he had spoken to Lynda about a week ago and discussed with her the fact that “the program is doing many new, creative things and expanding in many ways” and that “everything was really coming together”. He also said that he discussed with her the fact that she was intimidating to many students because of her rigid expectations which further thwarted the creativity of the students. I cannot dismiss the timing of this complaint only one week after that discussion.
That being said, I will address the specific allegations contained in the complaint.
Firstly, if this complaint is, indeed, to be considered, we can derive the following information:
1. The complaint is being made on behalf of a former student.
2. The student was part of a class containing a male, married student.
3. The student who was allegedly “seduced” by me passed both the course and the national board exam and is now a licensed massage therapist.
4. The student who was allegedly “seduced” by me is currently married and his wife “continues to suggest to him that he come forth….”
In my mind, this can only refer to students in the last two evening classes in which I was the instructor. While I was minimally involved in the day classes, I was only present on occasion when I was called in to substitute or perform student evaluations. I never had any ongoing relationship with the day students until this January. In the last two evening classes, only two married male students come to mind, Edwin Joiner [protected], and Mark Siedler [protected]. I would encourage you to question either of these two former students, as well as any of my past students, regarding these accusations and would be happy to provide their contact information, if necessary.
I can say, unequivocally, that I have never seduced, propositioned, made advances toward, or in any other way pursued any unprofessional relationship with any student, male or female, married or single. I deny every accusation contained within the complaint. I have never threatened, or inferred a threat, to any student that he or she would be failed by me for any reason, other than academic or a failure to meet the criteria of the program.
Other than these accusations, I can find no other situations to address. While I am being accused of “seducing” a student, there are no specific examples demonstrating this behavior on my part. Every other statement refers to this student’s feelings and, I do not think that I need to point out that this complaint is not being made by the student who was alleged to have been seduced but, rather by a “relative” of a “former student” who is recalling the third-hand events of yet another student.
While this complaint attempts to assassinate my character and my name is mentioned ten times, Lynda’s name is mentioned five times. The complaint even sneaks in the possibility of “bringing Linda back”. This is, in my opinion, not a complaint regarding the sexual harassment of a student but, rather, the inability of its author to let go of the past and of Lynda’s former involvement in our program. If this were really about my character would the author not have had the same concerns about me teaching part time in the program? Am I only a threat if I teach full-time? It is preposterous to me that an individual would only be concerned about this kind of allegation if I were to be hired full time while they make no suggestion that I even be questioned or disciplined or that I discontinue teaching part time. All claims contained in the complaint are both unfounded and unsubstantiated.
It is my sincere hope that his matter will be handled swiftly and judiciously. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or if you need any additional information.
I await your response.
Marjorie E. Foley