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Troubled College Names New President

December 24, 1986

WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ A University of Wisconsin official has been nominated to succeed former Westfield State College president Francis J. Pilecki, who faces trial next month on a charge of molesting a student.

Irving Buchen, vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Wisconsion at Stevens Point, was chosen Tuesday by the trustees of the 3,000- student college in western Massachusetts.

Buchen was selected in a closed-door meeting over candidates from Missouri, Colorado and New York. His appointment must be approved by the State Board of Regents of Higher Education, which meets next month.

Buchen was among four finalists chosen from among more than 170 educators who applied for the job.

Terms of the job, which would pay $57,000 to $62,000 a year, would still have to be negotiated if the board approves him. Buchen told the trustees by telephone after the meeting that he would accept the position, trustees Chairwoman Jane F. Berry said.

It was not known when the new president would take office next spring.

Westfield State has gone without a president for nearly a year. Pilecki, who headed the college for six years, left last January, almost six months before he was indicted on four counts of indecent assault and battery.

Pilecki goes on trial Jan. 20 on the first of two sexual assault cases, his attorney said.

One of the two students named in the charges received a $10,000 payment from the school after the alleged assault came to light. The payment was said to be a settlement of a complaint about the school’s academic programs.

The student also filed a civil suit seeking financial damages from Pilecki.

The other student, now an alumnus, has not filed a civil suit against Pilecki and his complaint will be tried first, Teahan said.

Both cases will be tried in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, where the trial was shifted because of potential problems in finding an impartial jury.

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