Lincoln University President Cleared of Bullying, Reinstated After Death of VP of Student Affairs

Vice President of Student Affairs Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey accused President John Moseley of bullying prior to her death by suicide.
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Published on March 25, 2024
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  • Lincoln University's vice president of student affairs, Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey, died by suicide in January, five days after she was fired.
  • Prior to her death, Candia-Bailey accused Lincoln University President John Moseley of bullying and harassment.
  • Moseley has been cleared of wrongdoing and reinstated following a third-party investigation.

The president of a historically Black college in Missouri has been reinstated after an independent investigation found no evidence of claims that he bullied or harassed a senior administrator who died by suicide in January, the university announced Thursday.

Lincoln University (LU) President John Moseley had volunteered to be placed on paid leave while a third party reviewed personnel issues after the Jan. 8 death of Vice President of Student Affairs Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey.

Five days prior to her death, Moseley had sent Candia-Bailey a termination letter in which he outlined his concerns with her work performance.

In emails obtained by Missouri CBS affiliate KRCG 13, Candia-Bailey on the day of her death accused Moseley, who is white, of causing enough harm and mental damage.

NBC News subsequently reported that Candia-Bailey's mother said her daughter's relationship with Moseley had deteriorated in recent months, and her husband said that his wife was depressed and did not feel supported in her role at the university.

The third-party review conducted by the law firm Lewis Rice concluded there was no evidence of bullying or harassment of Candia-Bailey by Moseley. However, it found evidence that workplace stress existed and led to strained relationships between university employees, including those in senior leadership positions.

There is not a lot I can say about the independent report and its findings, but I am grateful to the Board of Curators for their faith in me and their vote of confidence, Moseley said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

The board advised me of the report's findings a week ago, and I've had time to reflect and to discuss my future and that of the university with my family and members of the Lincoln University community, Moseley said. I care deeply for this university, its mission, our students, staff, and faculty, and I look forward to returning from administrative leave to resume my duties as president.

Many members of the LU community were outraged over Candia-Bailey's death and the bullying accusations. They called for Moseley to resign or be fired. Some members of the LU and historically Black college and university (HBCU) community further questioned Moseley's qualifications and wondered why a white man was president of the Missouri HBCU.

Board of Curators President Victor Pasley said in a statement that the investigation's findings shine a spotlight on the systemic issues at LU that many are rightly calling to be addressed.

For us, this report is not the end of a process, but rather the beginning of one, he said.

LU has launched a new University Wellness Committee that will prioritize both employee and student wellness with the hope that it will diagnose the health needs of the LU community sooner rather than later.

Additionally, LU will offer three licensed counselors on staff and additional counseling by Compass Health.