‘Scooter’ fired by college from police role

by Laura Gomez / Beacon Staff • March 20, 2014

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Scott Baisley was fired by the college in early January. Students said he is deeply missed.
Beacon Archive
Scott Baisley was fired by the college in early January. Students said he is deeply missed.
Beacon Archive

Hands in the pockets of his protruding zipped-up jacket of his police uniform, Scott Baisley offered a friendly look behind the gilded-rimmed glasses to passersby on the Boylston Street sidewalk. 

He was an approachable member of the Emerson College Police Department, according to Billy McHugh, a class of 2013 graduate, who knew Baisley by his nickname — “Scooter.” 

“He was always trying to get the scoop and talk to people,” said McHugh, who majored in marketing communication.

Baisley told the Beacon he was fired on January 7. He said a complaint from a student that surfaced from comments he made during a Rape Aggression Defense for Women course in November led the college to dismiss him for violating the college’s and ECPD’s policy of conduct.

Alexa Jackson, associate vice president for human resources, could not be reached for comment. 

After being the familiar face on the street for nine years and leading the instruction of the RAD for Women classes since 2008, Baisley said he laments his departure.

“It really disturbed me because I’ve been such a big advocate of keeping the students safe, being there as much as possible for them,” said Baisley. “It feels really heartbreaking and really unacceptable,” he said.

Baisley said during his time at Emerson, he not only pressed the college to have more instructors for RAD for Women, a nationally-certified course that teaches women the basics of how to defend themselves in case of emergency, but he also insisted the department should offer RAD for Men courses as well. 

“I brought it to attention that the college is violating Title IX under the RAD program because it says that if you teach a program, you have to teach one for the opposite sex,” said Baisley. “I made it known that this was going to cause a problem.” 

Title IX is a federal law prohibiting gender discrimination.

Jackson, who is also Emerson’s Title IX coordinator, could not be reached for comment.

ECPD Chief Robert Smith said before 2013, the police department had one instructor for this course, Baisley, who would partner with RAD certified police at other colleges to teach the class.  

With his departure, sophomore Sarah Tedesco said she feels the college lost one of its biggest advocates for sexual assault survivors.

“He responded to my case,” said Tedesco, who filed a federal complaint in October alleging the college failed to comply with Title IX  after she reported she was raped in October 2012. 

“[Baisley] was the only person who has cared about Title IX and who cared about survivors,” said Tedesco, a journalism major. 

Baisley said that at the moment, he didn’t have access to his termination letter from Emerson, a document which explains the college’s reasons for firing him.

“At this point I would like to just move on with my life,” he said.

Smith declined to comment on Baisley’s dismissal. 

 “I’ve made a lot of friends over the years, primarily with the students. And I also prided myself in being there for you guys, that’s what my job is… or was,” said Baisley.

For Jenny Sullivan, a former Beacon columnist and a writing, literature, and publishing major who will be a junior when she returns to Emerson from a leave of absence, Baisley’s presence comforted her.

“He was the friendly face in the morning, and he cheered you on your way to an 8 a.m.,” said Sullivan. “He was always genuinely happy, and he genuinely cared.”

Baisley said he’s always been a guy who stands up for what he believes in.

“I knew for a fact what was going on with all these cases,” said Baisley, referring to those opened by Tedesco, Sarita Nadkarni, and Jillian Doherty, who also filed federal complaints. Baisley said he was the officer who took the reports of assault from all three complainants. “I didn’t fully agree with the way things were being done and handled, both from the college’s side, and the other agencies involved.”

The federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, in charge of Title IX implementation, combined Tedesco’s, Nadkarni’s, and Doherty’s complaints and began investigating them in January.

“I am very upset to see him let go,” said Nadkarni, who is studying abroad in London, in an email to the Beacon. “He made me feel safe when I needed it the most.”

Smith said last year five members of ECPD, including two women, were sent to get certification to be RAD for Women instructors. Deputy ECPD Chief Eric Schiazza was one of them, and said he now leads the program at the college.

Last year, the newly certified self defense teachers taught from October 8 - 10, and on November 10, 23, and 24, according to Schiazza. 

This semester, RAD for Women classes will be offered from March 21-23 in the Paramount Center.

Smith said ECPD does not offer classes for men because of what he described as a lack of interest. If 10 or more men express their willingness to participate in self-defense classes, Smith said he would allocate the department’s resources to offer them. 

Students who knew Baisley attest to his genuine care for students. 

Junior Danielle Barker, a writing, literature, and publishing major, felt that Baisley was more than a man in uniform; he was, and still is, a friend. 

“I had really great conversations with him and I knew a lot about him,” said Barker. “He’s a big fan of Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow.” 

When Scooter was working night shifts, Sullivan said she and Barker would stay out late to keep him company. 

“Bring him back,” said Barker. “Just… bring him back.”