SPC fires provost for reporting arrest late
The president of St. Petersburg College has chosen to fire a campus provost after school officials said he failed to quickly report an eyebrow-raising arrest.
Marvin Bright, the former leader of SPC’s Tarpon Springs campus, was arrested Sept. 1 after, Pasco sheriff ’s deputies said, he forced his way into the home of a woman he had dated and choked her.
But school officials say it wasn’t until Sept. 18 that Bright told them about the allegations. He has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling and domestic battery by strangulation.
“The dismissal is not connected to the allegations or anything regarding what’s happening in the courts,” college spokeswoman Rita Farlow said. “It’s related to the policies the college contends were not followed.”
Bright has defended himself, saying he attempted several times to arrange a meeting about his arrest with president Tonjua Williams. When Bright finally spoke with officials, they placed him on paid administrative leave. A school official wrote a memo outlining Bright’s “misconduct in office,” including a failure to inform his bosses about the charges in a timely manner, delaying in returning his school keys and ID badge, and “not being truthful and forthcoming” when it came to documentation about the arrest.
That official recommended Bright’s firing. Bright, 53, was then allowed a meeting with a college official.
Williams reviewed information from that meeting and on Wednesday sent Bright a letter to let him know he was fired.
Bright’s criminal attorney, Gerasimos “Jerry” Theophilopoulos, said Thursday that “the college clearly rushed to vilify him.”
“The writing was on the wall before the hearing even started,” Theophilopoulos said. Bright, he said, plans to fight back against the college.
An arrest report says that, early on Aug. 21, Bright entered the home of a woman he had dated periodically over the past two years. She told him to leave, but he wouldn’t, a deputy wrote.
The pair argued, and Bright grabbed the woman by the neck and squeezed, the report says.
The woman sustained minor or no injuries, Pasco officials said.