Controversy and secrecy surrounds sudden departure of Seat of Wisdom College President – culture of fear said to exist

On August 14 Seat of Wisdom College (SWC) posted an announcement on its website stating:

“Dr. Ryan Williams will no longer be continuing as president of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College.”

The announcement did not give a reason for his sudden departure, but subsequent investigation by The Current, based on discussions with sources who say they are familiar with the events, has revealed that he was dismissed.

During the weeks prior to that announcement, The Current had been approached by individuals who volunteered information concerning allegations about Dr. Williams’ conduct. The information was provided on the understanding that The Current would not reveal their identities, one of the sources referring to a “culture of fear” prevailing in the college. Information provided by these sources included allegations that there had been several accusations of “abuse” and “harassment” levelled against Dr. Williams.

Upon seeing SWC’s announcement of Dr. Williams’ departure, in light of the information that had been previously provided to The Current, on August 18 a call was placed to Dr. Christine Schintgen, who has been appointed Interim President while a search for a new president is underway. The Current asked her to comment on the reasons for Dr. Williams’ sudden departure, advising her of the information that The Current had received concerning his conduct. Dr. Schintgen replied, “I cannot comment on that,” but suggested that The Current contact Richard Sauro who is Chairman of the SWC Board. Despite attempts to do so, including leaving messages for him to contact The Current, he has not yet responded.

The Current has been shown an email circulated to alumni on August 19. It said, “We respectfully request that alumni refrain from speculating as to the reasons for Dr. Williams’s departure so as to avoid the spreading of baseless and harmful rumours. We regret that we are not able to share more information at this time. We urge that people stop spreading rumours, out of respect for the reputations of both Dr. Williams and the college.”

The Current also reached out to Dr. Williams seeking his comments on the reasons for his departure and the allegations made to The Current about his conduct. When this reporter first contacted him, he expressed a willingness to give his side of the story, but when contacted subsequently to provide him that opportunity he stated that he had since been advised by his lawyer not to do so.

Dr. Williams was appointed President of SWC in July 2019 and in September 2019 he was invested as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre – a medieval Roman Catholic Order of chivalry that, like the Knights of Malta, answers only to the Holy See. He and his family were planning on a permanent move as they had recently bought land in Killaloe and had plans to build a new home. 

 

 

Aerial photo SWC Veritas

 

 

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