Seann Kalagher is the new Chief Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator for Manhattanville College. The position has been vacant since the departure of Judith Spain in 2017. Spain served as Chief Compliance Officer and as general counsel. The position that Kalagher took is no longer the general counsel.
Kalagher discovered the job opening at Manhattanville when one of his colleagues found the job posting and felt that the description matched well with his skill set. The job description stuck out to Kalagher for a couple of reason.
“The job description was really unique. It hit a lot of areas that I felt that I could do and that I know and some areas that I can learn about and grow into,” said Kalagher.
He is excited to take on some of the new challenges that come with this position. Residing in southern Connecticut, Manhattanville became more appealing to Kalagher since he would not have move his family. He was also intrigued to work with Vice President of Student Affairs, Cindy Porter again. They worked in the same division at Quinnipiac University.
Kalagher, originally from eastern Connecticut, attended George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. for his undergraduate degree in government and politics. During his four years there, he was exposed to adjunct professors who worked on Capitol Hill. Through one of these professors he was able intern with a sub-committee with the House of Representatives.
Immediately following his graduation from George Mason, he enrolled in Cornell Law School. Entering law school Kalagher did not have an idea of what he wanted to focus on. Law school was the path that he felt was the next step after his political studies.
“While I was there I decided I wanted to do something different, I wasn’t keen on taking the corporate attorney route,” said Kalagher.
In the latter half of his enrollment at Cornell Law, after consulting some of his mentors from his undergraduate days and looking at his options he decided he wanted to take the higher education route. He came to this decision when returning to his alma mater George Mason for homecoming. He arrived on campus early to speak with the Director of Student Activities, who Kalagher had worked with as a student leader. He suggested the path of education to Kalagher.
“I honestly up to that point had never really thought about it… I looked at programs and see what I could do with those programs,” said Kalagher.
Kalagher continued his studies after law school, getting his master’s in education from Old Dominion University (ODU). During his time at ODU Kalagher worked at Christopher Newport University in their student conduct office, where he worked on hearing student conduct cases.
After graduating from ODU he went to work at Roger Williams University for three years in their student conduct and community standards office. There he spent a lot of time working with students directly through student conduct. He also worked on policy; advising his supervisor on how to improve things such as the handbook.
Kalagher moved onto to work at Quinnipiac University, where worked for eight and a half years. He began his employment at Quinnipiac as Assistant Dean. His position changed during his stint there, he became the Associate Dean and the Deputy Title IX coordinator. Kalagher started handling student conduct, but as he progressed he took on policy revisions. In 2012 he helped write the Title IX policy for the University. For five and a half years he was the on-call person for incidents that happened with students. He oversaw a lot of investigations, the adjudication process and training processes.
He concurrently worked on other compliance areas such as The Cleary Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). “A lot of it [his job] is being someone who can answer difficult questions. I think it is something I’m still doing in my new role here [Manhattanville],” said Kalagher.
Manhattanville is a different type of school than Kalagher has attended or worked for in the past. All three of his alma maters have a higher enrollment than Manhattanville. Quinnipiac, his last employer, is a house science focused school, where as Manhattanville is liberal arts based.
“Some of the communications I have had with students so far, the issues that they care about and the community they want is different in a good way … I am excited to become a bigger part of the community,” said Kalagher.
Since his arrival, Kalagher has spent his time reading the schools policies and discovering the reasons for the policies, while asking questions.
He is a person that values context and believes that the policies of a school are an abstract history of the school; there is a reason those policies and systems were developed.
“This helps inform what next steps and improvements to [policy] could be,” said Kalagher.
In terms of Title IX Kalagher believes there is a solid base at Manhattanville. His job is to make sure the necessary programs and training procedures are being followed.
Also, to make sure that the processes that are in place are equitable and fair. He wants to make sure the school does a good job of explaining these processes to faculty and students.
“My job is to protect the rights of everybody who goes through the investigation process. It is not just the complainant or the respondent, it’s both; to make sure that everyone is being heard and has equal access to what is going on,” said Kalagher.
This semester Kalagher will continue to gather information about the functions of the school and the policy. He is focusing on the student experience and how to explain the process in the most efficient way possible to the students when an investigation happens.
Kalagher looks forward to becoming a larger part of the small community at Manhattanville.