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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Campus Comment | Student leaders sound off on life after embezzlement

Charges that former employees Jodie Nealley and Ray Rodriguez embezzled nearly $1 million from Tufts hit everybody at the university hard, but few campus figures were as heavily affected as Tufts Community Union (TCU) senators. They have spent months securing funds generated by the Student Activities Fee, reworking their financial accounts, and getting to know the Office for Campus Life's new director, Joe Golia. And that's all as they deal with trust issues stemming from the alleged betrayal by Nealley, who served as their advisor. In this Campus Comment, senators talk about the transition and their thoughts on Golia:

Duncan Pickard, TCU President

"I always really liked working with Ray. I thought that he was really good with students and that he did his job well, [so] it was really such a shock."

"The first priority coming out of this whole scandal was securing the Student Activities Fee and all the other money that was stolen, because it wasn't just the Student Activities Fee; it was a lot of cash accounts, too. So really just sort of securing the money that deals with students [was important]."

Matt Shapanka, TCU Treasurer

"I was disappointed and saddened, really. Especially with Jodie. Jodie was our advisor. She was loved by everyone at the university, students and faculty alike.

"I've literally spent the entire summer working on this, working with the finance division of the university to transition the funding of student clubs in a way that … doesn't disrupt any programming."

Lauren Levine, TCU Assistant Treasurer

"[It's easier] once you figure out that not all administrators are perfect — to say the least. [When we found out about Ray], it wasn't as bad as when everyone found out about Jodie. Especially considering the position he was in — he dealt more directly with money. I wasn't quite as surprised." 

"I've been amazed at how quickly [Joe Golia] has completely picked up on not only our procedures and the administrative duties, but [also] on what it means to be a Jumbo and what the Tufts campus is all about."

Scott Silverman, TCU Vice President

"[Nealley] really didn't have a direct involvement with the treasury. That was really Rodriguez's position. She served as a general advisor. When things got stressful, when there was a lot going on or I needed advice on something … I would just pop into her office and sit down and talk with her."

"From the student perspective, [for] the groups that spend money on campus, very little has changed. There are some new procedures in place and some different paperwork that will need to be filled out, but day-to-day operations are almost identical."