VP of Human Resources on Masiello Getting Hired Without a Degree: “It was a Mistake”



The Manhattan College human resource department never did security checks when Steve Masiello was hired in 2001, Barbara Fabe, the vice president for HR, said.

When Masiello returned in 2011, the HR department checked his driving and criminal background but failed to verify his degree, Fabe said, a requirement for the position.

The HR department assumed that because Masiello was previously a coach at the college, his academic credentials had already been checked and could not have changed.

“The assumption was made because he had been previously hired,” Fabe, who has worked at Manhattan College for 23 years, said. “It was a mistake, and I can’t come up with another plausible situation because that’s what happened.”

Fabe said she found out Masiello did not have a degree around the same time that reports surfaced reporting that Masiello never graduated from the University of Kentucky.

“I immediately went to the file and saw exactly what happened,” Fabe said. “It was a human resource error that took place in this department.”

President Brennan O’Donnell later addressed the situation at the Senate meeting in response to separate letters from the chairs of the school of arts and the council for faculty affairs which demanded a meeting to clarify his decision to offer Masiello a path to reinstatement.

“The mistake was really made in 2001 as far as it goes,” O’Donnell said at the meeting. “So then he goes off and he holds another position for which a bachelor’s degree is required for many years. He comes back to us, and figure he’s coming from a place where it’s a requirement, he had been here, and so the scrutiny was not what it should have been.”

President Brennan O'Donnell adresses the Manhattan College Senate regarding the controversy surrounding his decision to bring back basketball coach Steve Masiello. Photo by James O'Connor.
President Brennan O’Donnell adresses the Manhattan College Senate regarding the controversy surrounding his decision to bring back basketball coach Steve Masiello. Photo by James O’Connor.

“It was a serious mistake on our part, that we did not find this path earlier,” O’Donnell said. “We have done research and investigation on how that happened, and I can assure you that it won’t happen again.”

Fabe also answered questions at the meeting.

“We did check his background, the usual which we do for everyone – criminal – and his driving background,” Fabe said at the meeting. “I can tell you in investigating how it happened, that the thought was that he was here previously as an assistant in 2001 and that it was done at that time, and it wasn’t. So to put it simply as possible: it was a mistake that occurred in human resources.”

The 20 minute question-answer period at the Senate meeting was not enough for some faculty members.

Joesph Fahey, the director of the labor studies program, does not believe that Masiello unintentionally misled his employers.

“People are held morally and legally responsible for statements they make on their job applications,” Fahey said. “I find it incredible to hold that Coach Masiello repeatedly over a long course of years unintentionally misled his employers.  This is a grave scandal especially to our students and the thousands of alumni who hold degrees from Manhattan.”