O’Neill Family Hall rector abruptly leaves
Observer Staff Report | Friday, February 24, 2023
O’Neill Family Hall’s rector will “no longer serve” in the role as of Thursday, Feb. 23, according to an email sent to residents that afternoon.
“Effective immediately, Orlando [León] will no longer serve,” Breyan Tornifolio, the Residential Life director who oversees the hall and supervises León, wrote in the email. “Please know Residential Life is fully committed to supporting you and the entire O’Neill Family community throughout this transition.”
His biography has been removed from O’Neill’s profile on the Residential Life website. According to a web archive screenshot of his biography, León served in various youth programs throughout his career in education, primarily serving youth who had “experienced trauma, loss of some sort, and/or removal from the home.”
Fr. Chris Rehagen will serve as the interim rector for the remainder of the academic year and was available to speak to residents from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday evening, the email said. That night, Rehagen was walking around O’Neill to introduce himself to residents.
Several O’Neill residents said they had reason to believe León’s departure is connected to misconduct. A source close to hall staff members described them as “distressed.” University spokesperson Dennis Brown did not confirm or deny that León had been fired or that misconduct was involved but said the University has “nothing to add at this point beyond the message that was sent to the hall’s residents.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, León served in the position for only eight months, beginning the role in July 2022. After completing his undergraduate studies in social work at Cal Poly Pomona, León earned a graduate degree in social work from San Jose State University in 1992 and another graduate degree in elementary teaching and education from Loyola Marymount University in 2009.
In an interview with The Observer in the fall, León said he had worked in education for 17 years before taking the job as O’Neill rector.
”I think for me, it’s the building of relationships, building a foundation and understanding it’s about the whole, not necessarily myself,” León said in the interview on starting his job as rector.