Longtime SMC dean fired following complaint

DOWAGIAC — A Southwestern Michigan College dean has been fired after the investigation into an anonymous complaint.

Scott Topping was fired on Feb. 13 from his position as dean of the college of arts and sciences, according to SMC President David Mathews.

Topping had been with SMC for nearly 25 years, starting as an English instructor in 1995. He moved up to English department chair in 1999. He had been serving as dean of the college of arts and sciences since 2005.

Scott Topping

The termination comes after a lengthy investigation of an anonymous conduct complaint lodged against Topping on Jan. 10, according to Mathews. After the complaint was made, Topping was placed on non-disciplinary suspension.

The complaint was made on the school’s anonymous complaint system, which allows anyone to report any concern. 

“We put the system in place in the environment where colleges and education institutions have security concerns,” Mathews said. “The strength of the reporting system is that it’s anonymous, but the weakness of the reporting system is that it’s anonymous. Anybody can say anything. … So, anytime any complaint of any type comes in by the anonymous reporting system, we investigate it.”

Mathews said that neither he nor the college can offer details into the complaint that led to Topping’s departure, as it is a personnel issue. However, Mathews said that a thorough investigation was performed, with dozens of people interviewed.

“I cannot say much,” Mathews said. “The investigation did conclude on Feb. 13, with Dr. Topping no longer working for us.”

When contacted, Topping declined to comment.

Now, SMC is actively searching nationwide for Topping’s replacement as dean of the college of arts and sciences, while David Fleming, SMC vice president of instruction, temporarily fills the position.

Cassopolis

Cassopolis residents host Juneteenth event at Clisbee Park

Berrien County

I&M provides update on power outages

Dowagiac

Dowagiac natives return from out of state to host Juneteenth event

News

Mt. Calvary Baptist Church partners to host inaugural Juneteenth festival

Berrien County

Indiana man sentenced to 180 days for stealing catalytic converters

Berrien County

Homeless man gets jail time for assaulting police officer

Berrien County

Some southwest Michigan residents still without power, cleaning up damage following Sunday storm

Berrien County

SMC, LMC among nine community colleges to receive state grants for students enrolled in Futures for Frontliners, Michigan Reconnect programs

Berrien County

Southwest Michigan sees severe storms overnight

News

Niles Police Logs: June 10-15

Cass County

Aircraft crash sends Indiana man to hospital

Dowagiac

Dowagiac man ejected from vehicle in Howard Township

Berrien County

Michigan stepping up speed enforcement during regional traffic safety campaign

Cassopolis

Edwardsburg man sentenced to Adult Treatment Court following home invasion

Dowagiac

Benton Harbor man gets jail for role in Dowagiac fight

Cass County

Man involved in Dowagiac murder sentenced to 26-50 years in prison

Cassopolis

Community members speak out against ‘culture of bullying’ at Cassopolis Public Schools

Cass County

Cass County commissioners approve sidewalk leveling, cleaning contract

Dowagiac

Community rebuilds Little Free Library dedicated to late sister following vandalism incidents

News

Niles bicycle shop to host Pride Ride

Buchanan

Berrien Springs woman dies when vehicle collides with semi in Buchanan

Berrien County

Berrien County Board of Commissioners to resume in-person meetings July 1

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 893,002 cases, 19,598 deaths

Cass County

Dowagiac man, daughter injured in Newberg Township crash