College confirms ban against Bocchi’s return to campus

Is Matthew Bocchi, ’13, banned from campus? The answer, it would seem, is yes.
In an email statement to The Campus responding to a Nov. 4 article on an alleged ban against Bocchi, Vice President of Enrollment Management Ellen Johnson confirmed that Bocchi was not allowed on Allegheny’s campus.
In the article, Bocchi claimed that he was never formally notified that he was banned from campus and that he only heard of it from other sources: first from a brother of Bocchi’s fraternity — which he still advises as a member of the national organization — and then from a fellow alumnus who added Bocchi to the guest list of an alumni event before being told Bocchi was banned.
“With respect to Mr. Bocchi being notified of his access to campus, a persona non grata (PNG) letter was sent by certified mail to Mr. Bocchi by the College but not accepted after three delivery attempts by the US Postal Service,” Johnson wrote in part.
“Certified mail” is a system of ensuring that a specific person receives a letter or other piece of mail. According to, the recipient must sign for the letter for it to be “accepted,” meaning that if an individual is not home or does not answer the door when a delivery attempt is made the letter is just not delivered.
One possibility is that Bocchi had changed addresses by the time the PNG letter was sent.
“I’ve moved probably three times over the past two years,” Bocchi said when presented with the statement. “I have never received a letter where I’ve been living. I also travel for work. But my attorney’s name and office has not changed, and they have received nothing.”
When the letter was not accepted, Johnson wrote that the college tried contacting Bocchi through different means.
“Due to the certified letter not being accepted, the PNG letter was then delivered by email to Mr. Bocchi,” Johnson stated. “More generally, any person who is issued a PNG order is informed in writing by Public Safety. These orders are reviewed (on) an ongoing and as needed basis.”

However, Bocchi said that the last email he received from the college was an alumni newsletter called “The 13th Plank” on Dec. 16, 2021, and that he did not receive any communication of a ban from campus. He also said that he has received no follow-up since the Nov. 4 article.
“I have received no communication from any representative or current employee at the college since the story came out, and neither have my attorneys,” Bocchi said.
In the article, Bocchi described what he considered pressure to return to in-person work and travel when he was employed at the college in early 2021. At the time, Bocchi had a “reasonable accomodation” to work from home due to a chronic health concern.
An employer pressuring an employee to violate the terms of a reasonable accommodation could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. While Bocchi filed a charge of disability discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he did not pursue a lawsuit against the college.
“While we do not discuss specific personnel matters, we want to clarify that Mr. Bocchi voluntarily resigned from his position at the College and the College denies any claim of violation of the ADA in respect to his employment,” Johnson wrote in the statement. “The EEOC summarily dismissed the charge approximately 15 months ago.”
Bocchi said that he obtained a “right-to-sue” from the EEOC in August 2021 after the agency did not bring him and the college to the mediation table within 90 days.
“(The right-to-sue) means they aren’t saying anybody’s right or wrong, they’re saying, ‘we don’t have the time to investigate it, so go to the courts,’” Bocchi said in the Nov. 4 article.
Bocchi also provided a copy of the “right-to-sue” to The Campus to back up his claim.
Johnson did not respond to a follow-up request for comment or to provide a copy of the PNG letter to The Campus. The college has maintained it has acted within its rights and that Bocchi voluntarily left.
Bocchi said that the confirmation of the ban made him “concerned” for Allegheny.
“I don’t know how you have an academic institution that just bans people from campus because they disagree with you,” he said. “It’s just like, who are they going to ban next?
“Where does it end?” Bocchi added.