Two CMU employees under investigation regarding Vanguard Public Affairs situation

TJ Bucholz

Journalism faculty member Steve Coon and student media adviser Dave Clark have been temporarily removed from their positions and placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. 

The university has not officially named the individuals.

On Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press published testimonies from five women who accused Vanguard Public Affairs president and managing partner T.J. Bucholz, a 1994 CMU alumnus, of sexually harassing young women.

The women came forward after Michigan LGBTQ+ activist Emily Dievendorf posted to Facebook about her experience. Dievendorf told the Free Press that Bucholz sexually harassed her during a 2010 gubernatorial campaign around the Lansing area.

According to a March 25 university press release, a "faculty member" is being investigated for his connection with Vanguard and Bucholz. 

Journalism Department Chairperson William Dailey sent an email to JRN 312 students on March 24.

On March 24, five minutes into class, Journalism Department Chair William Dailey announced in an email to students in Steve Coon’s reporting class that they had the day off. Dailey also said Coon, was placed “on leave."

Coon was listed on Vanguard's website as a consultant. The site has since been taken down.

Mariah Prowoznik, a 2015 CMU graduate, worked at Vanguard from April 2018 until Oct. 2019. She was referred to Vanguard by Coon, who told her he would "put in a good word with the CEO," she said.

Clark is being investigated for potentially being aware of the situation. Sarah Leach, president of the student media board, confirmed Clark is being investigated for potentially being aware of the situation. Leach is temporarily advising student journalists until the Clark investigation is complete.

After former employees, including Central Michigan University students and recent graduates, came forth regarding the toxic work environment and sexual harassment at Vanguard, CMU President Bob Davies released a statement to campus about the situation March 26.

"I have read the testimonies and accounts from our students and alumni ... The stories of what they endured as employees — the degrading and horrible acts they experienced — deeply sadden me, and I extend my sincere apologies to each of them," Davies said in his statement. "I am also angry to learn that this situation may have been ongoing for quite some time."

Central Michigan Life reached out to Vanguard Public Affairs and Steve Coon for comment on this story.

CM Life is working to gather and verify more information.

President Bob Davies posted a statement regarding the Vanguard Public Affairs Situation on March 26.