Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

SPC president rejects claim of favoritism

SPC president Carl Kuttler gave the Kazakhstan immigrant away at her wedding.

SPC president Carl Kuttler gave the Kazakhstan immigrant away at her wedding.

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg College president Carl Kuttler spent more than an hour last week with the board of trustees' lawyer, discussing a complaint that he was showing favoritism to a friend who works at the college.

St. Petersburg attorney Joseph H. Lang said Monday that two people complained 10 days ago "that there was a perception on the St. Pete campus that a female staff member was receiving favorable treatment, and maybe more than that was involved."

Lang declined to identify the people who complained, saying he had promised them anonymity.

The staffer in question is Violetta Sweet, who oversees student exchanges as director of the international program. Sweet had worked in nonsupervisory positions in the college's financial aid and accounts payable offices before leaving several years ago. She was rehired in December to her current $60,000-a-year post. She supervises one assistant and reports to university provost Karen White.

Lang said he and longtime trustee Richard Johnston "asked Carl to come up with a strategy or plan to alleviate or negate this perception, to whatever extent that it exists, that he played favorites with this girl."

Kuttler denied any favoritism, "but acknowledged where people could perceive it," Lang said.

Sweet, 33, immigrated from Kazakhstan about 10 years ago and met Kuttler when mutual friends who knew of his avid interest in Russia asked him to help her.

"She was in dire need. I get about 100 cases a year like this," Kuttler said. "We raised scholarship funds for her."

The two remained friends, occasionally visiting each other's homes, along with their spouses, both Kuttler and Sweet said.

Lang said Kuttler, 68, gave Sweet away when she married. "Carl described himself as like her godfather or surrogate father," Lang said.

Before Sweet recently filed for divorce, Kuttler advised her to seek counseling, Lang said.

The college was in a lurch when it hired Sweet to her current position in the international program, Kuttler said.

Her predecessor had left suddenly, just before several college officials and students planned to travel to Russia on a major exchange trip. Sweet's ability to speak Russian came in particularly handy as a translator, he said, when one of the students needed medical attention.

Sweet has a bachelor's degree from Kazakhstan and has studied accounting at the University of South Florida, she and Kuttler said.

She attributed any perceptions of favoritism to people not liking immigrants. "I think there is just jealousy going on and they need to stop immigrants," she said Monday. "But we are going through with this, and we are going to do well."

Lang and Johnston both said that, after the meeting, they were satisfied with Kuttler's explanation.

SPC president rejects claim of favoritism 09/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 11, 2008 3:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  5. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings