Crime Analysis instructor Shawn Backer under investigation

The Office of the Provost confirmed instructor Shawn Backer to be under investigation and no longer in the FAU faculty system on April 24.


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Elisabeth Gaffney, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Shawn Backer is no longer teaching at Florida Atlantic University, according to an administrator in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Backer, an instructor and former Deputy Chief of Police with the Coral Springs Police Department, taught Crime Analysis until mid-February. He is not in the university system as of April 24, according to the Office of the Provost, which oversees faculty matters. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Wendy Guastaferro, the director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (SCCJ), confirmed via email that Backer is not currently teaching. She declined to specify the circumstances behind the move.

“I cannot talk about personnel matters,” she wrote in a March 27 email to the University Press.

The university’s police department, Human Resources (HR) personnel, and the university’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX have confirmed active investigations into Backer but did not confirm the existence of complaints and police reports. Representatives have declined to detail their nature, citing a policy that forbids discussing personnel matters.

According to Associate Director of Employee Relations Susan Mancha, an employee investigation does not necessarily warrant a suspension or termination, as HR makes the decision on a case-by-case basis. She declined to specify the nature of Backer’s case, citing privacy concerns.

Sophomore criminal justice major Justine Kantor claims Backer had strong support among his students.

“We all strongly admire Shawn Backer and felt he was a great instructor,” she wrote in a message. “We have not been given any information from the school, but we have been assured that Backer is doing well and we are all hopeful he will return soon.”

Ricky Langlois, a senior instructor with the SCCJ, will teach Crime Analysis until further notice. In a Feb. 17 email to Backer’s students, Guastaferro introduced Langlois but did not offer an explanation for the sudden change.

“I am asking for your patience as we make this transition,” the email read. Langlois did not respond to requests for comment, and Guastaferro declined to provide further comment.

Editor’s Note: Justine Kantor is a former employee of the University Press.

Elisabeth Gaffney is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Elisabeth at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @elisabethgaff.