ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A scandal at Flagler College now has the school searching for a new vice president of enrollment.
Marc Williar, who served in that role since 2008, resigned Friday after it was discovered that he had been changing grades, test scores and class rankings of freshmen students after they had been admitted and enrolled into the college.
President William Abare said that he has known Williar since he was working in the admissions office and Williar was a student in the 1970s. He said nobody had any reason to believe that something like this was going on and that it was discovered by accident.
"There was no reason for him to do this," Abare said. "His job did not depend on students having a certain SAT score of whatever it may have been."
Abare said a faculty member came across the falsified numbers Feb. 10 while trying to verify scores for placement in freshman-level courses. After a brief investigation, he confronted Williar about the numbers. He said Williar admitted to changing the numbers and resigned as a result.
Abare said Williar acted alone, adding that it won't affect any students.
"We know when the schedules were established for the fall semester, we know that the placements were placed on accurate data that were in the students' individual files, so the placement was not affected at all," Abare said.
He said Williar admitted to doctoring the numbers for four years, from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, the U.S. News and World Report ranked Flagler as the eighth-best college in the South. Abare said that will change, but hopefully not much. He said the school is still a great place to study.
"Our services here are second to none, so you know, there are a lot of positives," Abare said. "This is an unfortunate negative that has been created by a single individual who acted alone."
On campus, it was the topic of conversation. Students said an email was sent out by the school letting them know what happened. Most were surprised but are confident it won't affect the school too much.
"I don't think it's a reflection of all the college," student Javier Cappas said. "It's a small amount that was part of it, so I don't see it affecting my future."
"It's disappointing to us because we have such a high standard at the school," student Raisa Montella said. "It's such a great school. To have something like this is disappointing. Things happen. The person responsibly resigned, and they are trying to get it fixed now."
Williar did not return a call for comment Tuesday.
Abare said the college will now begin a nationwide search for a new vice president of enrollment, but there is no timetable on when it hopes to make a hire.
Abare said there were no warning signs that this was going on because the class profile for the last 15 years has remained pretty consistent. He was scheduled to meet with the school's IT department Tuesday to put more safeguards into place to make sure something like this never happens again.
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