BCA President Resigns after Report of Inappropriate Conduct

October 7, 2019 — Gregory Ruffer, the president and chief executive officer of the Boston Center for the Arts, a nonprofit visual and performing arts complex in the South End neighborhood of Boston, has reportedly resigned following allegations of inappropriate conduct while he worked as a professor at a Florida college a decade ago.

The board of directors of the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) announced the resignation yesterday, according to a report in The Boston Globe today.

The BCA's chief operations officer, Kristi Keefe, and chief advancement officer, Emily Foster Day, have been appointed to serve as co-directors of all day-to-day business, Board Chair John G.F. Ruggieri said, the Globe reported.

The action follows a report broadcast Friday on WBUR that the BCA was "hiring outside counsel to look into allegations that the organization's president and CEO, Gregory Ruffer, behaved inappropriately while working at a college in Florida several years ago."

Ruffer joined the BCA three years ago, after having served as president and CEO of CEO of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee.

Staff at the BCA reportedly presented the board with a letter on Friday asking that Ruffer be placed on leave while the investigation was underway.

“The board and leadership of the BCA pledges that we shall take necessary steps and action as necessary to ensure that the organization’s important mission continues, and proper policies and procedures are in place to ensure a safe and appropriate work environment for all who are involved in our organization,” Ruggieri-Lam said in the statement Sunday, the Globe reported.

Ruggieri-Lam said no reports of impropriety have been reported during Ruffer’s tenure at the BCA, according to WBUR.

The allegations against Ruffer reportedly relate to emails that Ruffer allegedly sent to his student Wes Hunter at the College of Central Florida during the 2009-2010 academic year. Hunter, who now lives in the Boston area, last month went public with the allegations in a post on schmopera.com.

Ruffer in September sparked controversy after he announced that artists renting space from the arts organization had to vacate their South End studios by May and reapply for admission as part of a new BCA artist residency program, the Globe reported.

The BCA was recreated 50 years ago on land that included the Cyclorama, the BCA’s most renowned space, which had been built in 1884 to house a cycloramic painting of the Battle of Gettysburg. The BCA Gallery, originally formed to show work by BCA studio artists, became the Mills Gallery. The BCA Plaza Theatres were joined, in 2004, by the two new theaters at the Calderwood Pavilion. Today, more than 200,000 people visit the BCA annually.