Tarleton student life vp departs after investigation

By Katy Tonkin

Rusty Jergins. Photo courtesy of tarleton.edu.

Rusty Jergins, former head of student life at Tarleton State University. Photo courtesy of tarleton.edu.

Texan News Service Managing Editor

“No comment.”

That’s been the official response for more than a month to questions about the investigation that led to former Student Life Vice President Rusty Jergin’s departure from Tarleton State University on Friday.

Since early September Jergins has been under investigation by the Texas A&M University System. Little information about the investigation has been released as it was ongoing.

But Friday a statement was released from the office of the president stating that the investigation has been completed and findings from it have been reported to Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio.

The statement said that based on the findings from this investigation, a leadership change was in order and Jergins is no longer affiliated with Tarleton and no longer serving as vice president of student life. Darla Doty, assistant vice president for student life who has been covering the role in his stead, will continue as interim vice president.

Not a single regular member of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents returned phone calls from Texas News about the investigation in recent weeks.

Steve Moore, the system vice chancellor for marketing and communications, did, however, leave a voicemail for a reporter.

“It’s no use calling the regents, they will not have any comment,” Moore said.

Colton Buckley, the first-ever Student Regent from Tarleton, last month would only say this in an interview: “All that I can say is that there is an ongoing investigation.At yesterday’s meeting of the board, Regent Judy Morgan said that the Jergins investigation didn’t come up for discussion.”

Dottavio told Texan News last month that all he knew about the investigation was what he read in the news.

“There’s nothing more that I know than was written in the paper,” he said. “It is being investigated by the Texas A&M University System.”

Two reporters last month found Jergins — a former mayor of Stephenville — in shorts and T-shirt at his home. He said “hi,” that he was doing “good” and “nope” when asked to comment on the investigation.

Texan News called Jergins the Friday of the announcement that he was released from the university, but the call was not answered or returned.

Reporters for Texan News attended Thursday’s meeting of the board of regents. The subject of Jergins didn’t come up – at least during the public part of the meeting.

After the meeting, reporters asked Regent Judy Morgan if Jergins was discussed in their executive session. It wasn’t, she said, adding that she could not talk about it

On Friday Harry Battson, assistant vice president of marketing and communications, sent an email to faculty and staff that read: “In September, Tarleton State University requested that the Texas A&M University System begin an investigation into the Division of Student Life. The system has completed its investigation and reported its findings to President F. Dominic Dottavio.

“Based upon these findings, the university has decided to make a leadership change. Rusty Jergins is no longer affiliated with Tarleton State University, and thus, is no longer serving in the capacity as Vice President for Student Life,” the statement continued.

When Battson was asked for the findings of the investigation, he said, “The investigation is sealed and not available to the public.”

Additional reporting by Alejandra Arreguin, Bethann Coldiron, Bethany Kyle and Savannah Trantham.

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