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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

SFCC acting president resigns amid allegations of sexual harassment

Darren Pitcher (Community Colleges of Spokane)

Darren Pitcher, the acting president of Spokane Falls Community College, has resigned amid allegations of workplace sexual harassment.

The Community Colleges of Spokane, the district that includes SFCC and Spokane Community College, said in a news release Wednesday that Pitcher stepped down this week “to focus on his health and his family,” but district spokeswoman Carolyn Casey confirmed a personnel investigation had been underway.

Casey confirmed school officials had been looking into claims of sexual harassment by Pitcher but said she could not go into detail. The investigation was closed after Pitcher submitted his resignation letter and no conclusion was reached, she said. His departure did not involve a legal settlement or any nondisclosure agreements, she said.

Pitcher, 49, did not respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Pitcher joined SFCC in 2012 after more than a decade in leadership roles at Miles Community College in Montana.

He was SFCC’s vice president for student services until last summer, when President Janet Gullickson resigned to lead another community college in Virginia. Pitcher served as acting president while the district searched for someone to lead SFCC permanently. He will not return to the vice president job.

Nancy Fair-Szofran, who has been the district’s provost since 2012, will lead SFCC until a permanent president is selected this spring. The district said a nationwide search began in December, and interviews with a “strong pool of candidates” will begin next month.

“I have great confidence in Dr. Szofran’s leadership and ability to ensure the excellent student-focused work at SFCC continues uninterrupted during this transition,” the district’s chancellor, Christine Johnson, said in the news release.

Spokane Community College also has been searching for a permanent president since Ryan Carstens resigned last July, two years into the job. Carstens vied to become president of other schools in Kentucky and Wyoming but ultimately took a job with the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.

Casey, the spokeswoman for the Community Colleges of Spokane, said Wednesday that Carstens had not been subject to a personnel investigation around the time of his departure.