Rowan College at Burlington County has reached a $238,500 settlement in a discrimination case by an employee against its outgoing president, Paul Drayton Jr., who resigned last week for health reasons.
At a special meeting Wednesday, the Board of Trustees approved an agreement to settle a complaint filed last summer by the employee against Drayton and the college, said college spokesman Gregory Volpe. The college, in the agreement, denied “any wrongdoing or liability of any kind.”
With the agreement, the college said a complaint filed by an employee in August with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was closed. The college has not released the findings of an internal investigation into the matter. The employee has not been identified or the nature of the allegations.
“To the best of my knowledge, all matters related to this have been resolved,” George Nyikita, trustee board chairman, said Thursday. “It’s certainly been a challenging period, but the employees and the staff and the faculty of the college have responded remarkably well and performed at a high level.”
According to the six-page agreement reached through mediation, the employee, whose name was redacted from the document, was placed on paid administrative leave on March 13. The employee’s position at the college will end Friday, the agreement says. The settlement includes attorney’s fees and bars the employee from further legal action against the college.
Drayton, 58, of Mount Laurel, did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment. In an interview on Saturday, Drayton, the college’s first African American president, said he was proud of his record promoting women and minorities.
“I’ve lived my life on opening doors,” he said. “The last thing I would do is discriminate against anyone.”
Last week, the trustees voted unanimously to allow Drayton to step down from his post and placed him on medical leave. Drayton declined to disclose his medical condition. The college will continue to pay his $203,206 annual salary and benefits until Sept. 1.
Drayton was placed on paid administrative leave after the discrimination complaint was lodged. Details about the nature of the complaint or specific allegations have not been disclosed. The federal agency enforces civil rights laws against discrimination in the workplace, including for age, disability, race, religion, sex, and sexual harassment.
Nyikita said no decision has been made on when Drayton’s successor will be named. Michael Cioce, vice president of enrollment management and student success, has been serving as acting president.
Drayton, a longtime South Jersey political figure, became president in March 2015, the fifth in the history of what once was Burlington County College.
Previously, Drayton was the Burlington County administrator for five years. Prior to that, he headed the Delaware River Port Authority. He resigned from the bistate agency in 2003 after resisting commissioners’ attempts to oust him.
Before working in county government, Drayton was an administrator at Temple University. He also worked as a lawyer in the office of former New Jersey Gov. James J. Florio and, before that, for a U.S. Senate committee.
Under a separation agreement with Drayton, Rowan agreed to pay his life insurance and COBRA health benefits from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2019, college officials said. It also includes a mutual non-disparagement clause that bars Drayton from taking any legal action against the college.