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The Voice

University president’s newest ‘help wanted’ ad reminds campus of scandalous past

Colton Bryner

In the routinely published “On-campus work-study positions,” a document that details open positions for students, the president’s office released a job opportunity as an office assistant. The position entails fielding phone calls, dealing with campus personnel and handling basic office tasks. On any other college campus, this request for help would be otherwise unnoteworthy. Yet on Bloomsburg University’s campus, this seemingly innocent post has sparked conversation among the community as it dredges up the institution’s stained past.

BU’s president, Dr. Bashar Hanna, began his venture as the leader of the pack with a rocky start. Four months into his position as BU’s president, allegations were made accusing Hanna of sexually harassing a female executive assistant. The woman alleged that Hanna made sexual advances toward her including putting his arm around her and kissing her. The allegations turned into a civil suit that gathered attention from The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Morning Call, Philly Voice, PennLive and more.

While the investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education found the allegations to be baseless, the blemish on Hanna’s reputation remains more than five years later.

“The matter was immediately addressed, investigated, and dismissed,” said Executive Communications and Editorial Director, Elizabeth Arnold.

Now, any new members added to the president’s team of staff are met with scrutiny as is the president’s every move towards them. Posting a student work position brings up some concerns among the student body.

“Having that history can understandably make some students question the safety of the office,” said Emeline Eshelman, a sophomore who saw the posting while looking for an on-campus job.

Despite the campus community’s concerns, the university remains firm in its position that the president’s office offers students a safe and educational environment to gain work experience.

“Student workers have been important members of the President’s Office staff every semester since he has been president of Commonwealth and Bloomsburg before that, allowing students to work with members of the university’s leadership team, gathering invaluable resume-building experience and building relationships with a wide variety of campus constituencies in a professional setting,” said Arnold.

When reached out to for a comment, Hanna did not respond to The Voice.

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Novalea Verno, Editor-in-Chief
Colton Bryner, Multimedia Journalist

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    CourtneyAug 30, 2023 at 7:08 AM

    I was a student worker for 2 years in the Presidents office. I can only say such amazing reasons as why other students should apply. The support I got and the connections I made can not compare to any other job.