Since Eugene “Gino” Vallante’s termination by the college in March, 2014, Keene State College has retained McLane Law Firm to conduct an independent review, according to an email statement made by the college. The statement continued, “USNH [University System of New Hampshire] has retained former Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, a partner in the McLane Law Firm to conduct a system-wide review of the policies, procedures and compliance protocols related to the reporting of misconduct for the purpose of ensuring student safety.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Andrew Robinson stated the first time he heard a complaint regarding Vallante came in February of 2014.

According to Robinson, he heard the allegations in the form of a “heads up” from the Keene Sentinel newspaper before the newspaper ran a story in February reporting claims made by a New England College alumnus. The alumnus made allegations of misconduct against Vallante to the Keene Sentinel. “It’s the first time I had ever heard of any complaint,” he said.

The vice president said, “My first reaction was to let the president’s office know and to contact human resources and let them know, and to strategize how we needed to approach that and deal with it,” Robinson said.

Robinson, accompanied by Kelly Ricaurte, media relations manager for KSC, would not comment on the allegations made against Vallante, but said, “I can say that they were of a concern that we felt we needed to look into them and to do that carefully and thoroughly.”

When asked whether he has heard specifically from students who claim they were affected in an inappropriate way by Vallante, Robinson said, “Well that’s still part of our review and it hasn’t been completed yet,” he added, “I probably shouldn’t comment on the specifics of the investigation.” Robinson did, however, disclose that, “We have enough information that concerned us and enough that allowed us to terminate the employment of Gino Vallante.”

Robinson said he is reaching out to the KSC community. “We are trying to let students know that if they have information, they should contact Kim Harkness who is our director of human resources. We do want to know if there are concerns, if there are issues, if there are any problems, if people have things that they want to tell us.”

Robinson said the college, with the help of hired independent reviewers, has cast a “broad net.” In the interview held March 25, 2014, Robinson said, “I would say we are looking at all the details and all the information that’s available to us, and we’ve already done that essentially, and now the independent reviewers are perhaps checking our work and making sure that we did what we needed to do to determine all the information that’s available.” Robinson stated, “We’ve had several conversations” with KSC Director of Athletics John Ratliff and Associate Director of Athletics and Head Coach Men’s Basketball Robert Colbert.

Both Colbert and Ratliff would not comment to The Equinox, and both referenced Robinson and Kelly Ricaurte, for further comment.

When reached, KSC President Anne Huot did not comment but stated in an email, “I have nothing to add to that at this time. If you have additional questions please direct them to Kelly Ricaurte.”

When former KSC President Helen Giles-Gee, and former Provost Emile Netzhammer, who both served the college from 2006 to 2013, were reached for comment; they both declined comment.

The Equinox contacted Director of Human Resources Kim Harkness on March 31, 2014, with questions regarding the KSC Student Handbook and resources available for students who are seeking administrative authority if ever they feel threatened, uncomfortable, or harmed.

She responded with an email which read, “Because I am involved in the continuing investigation, I cannot respond at this point.  I have provided some preliminary information to Kelly Ricaurte and asked her to respond.”

Ricaurte then contacted The Equinox and directed KSC students to the official handbook, which according to Ricaurte, can only be found online on the college website.


Julie Conlon can be contacted at

Share and Enjoy !