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Mason: Gray was put on leave once UI officials informed about situation

BY STACEY MURRAY | NOVEMBER 16, 2012 6:30 AM

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Though University of Iowa President Sally Mason remains tight-lipped regarding Peter Gray, she said Thursday that Gray was placed on leave once officials were informed of the situation.

During an interview with The Daily Iowan, Mason talked about university’s procedure in response to a question regarding when she is informed about complaints.

“I would tell you that as soon as we became aware of the situation that we’re talking about right now, the individual was placed on leave and an investigation was begun, and that’s the process,” Mason said in an interview with The Daily Iowan on Thursday.

Mason did not provide further details about why or when Gray was placed on leave.

Gray, a former UI associate director of athletics student services, resigned Nov. 5. A report obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen detailed allegations and an internal investigation, which concluded that Gray had violated the UI Policy of Sexual Harassment on numerous occasions.

Mason released a statement Tuesday saying the reports of misconduct are a confidential personnel matter and the university wouldn’t make any additional comments, other than saying officials are reviewing the facts.

However, Mason plans to provide the public with more comments after further reviewing the case.

“We’re asking more questions, obviously,” she said Thursday. “As soon as I finish the fact-finding — which I hope we’ll wrap up today, maybe later, the latest tomorrow — I should have some pretty clear indication I could share with everybody about where we’re going to head, so stay tuned.”

Other UI officials have expressed concerns regarding policies following Gray’s rehiring in 2002 while remaining neutral, including Professor Richard Fumerton, a former president of the Faculty Council.

“I don’t know what the facts of this case are, and I probably have to say that it’s a personnel matter right now,” he told the DI on Tuesday. “At some point in the future, it may be worth looking at such policies, but I don’t know what the facts of this case are.”

Mason said UI officials are reviewing the rehiring policy throughout the investigation.

“I think it’s really important to look at the hiring practices to make sure we follow our policies, state policies, and also to make sure that we do everything possible to find out as much as we can about candidates that are applying for jobs here at the university,” she said Thursday. “Obviously, we believe we’re doing a good job of that. I need to make sure so we can do an audit, and we can find out more about exactly how hiring processes are conducted, and we’ll go from there.”

Following reports that Gray had been previously fired from Coastal Carolina University, Mason said she couldn’t comment on the university’s decision to rehire Gray in 2002 because she felt she didn’t know all the facts on the subject.

While looking to the future, UI officials maintain the best way for individuals to handle sexual misconduct cases is to go to UI-Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator Monique DiCarlo.

“She should be informed any time there is sexual misconduct of any sort whether it’s sexual harassment, whether it’s sexual assault,” Mason said. “That really should’ve been the first level of signaling right there is that Monique should’ve been informed about this.”

Attempts to speak to DiCarlo by the DI about Gray were forwarded to UI spokesman Tom Moore.

Mason met with the regents’ leadership team on Thursday to discus a “sound strategy for moving forward,” but when asked, Mason said she wouldn’t share these plans until the fact-finding finished.

Sheila Doyle, the regents’ communications officer, said the three regents who met with Mason Thursday — President Craig Lang, Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter, and Regent Jack Evans — would have no comment on what was discussed at the meeting.

One regent said earlier this week that the responsibility for sound policies falls on the regents and UI officials.

“My concern is from the regent-policy standpoint,” Regent Robert Downer told the DI on Monday. “In my view, this is something the Board of Regents has to look into for all the institutions for which we have responsibility.”


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