Others testify in Bachmeier claim
Northern admins admit Templeton made them uncomfortable
June 10, 2014
Several administrators at Montana State University-Northern seconded that former provost Templeton’s action made the workplace uncomfortable.
Friday, more of the investigative report, including exhibits that will be presented to the hearing officer at the June 16 to 19 hearing for the Randy Bachmeier vs Montana State University-Northern sexual harassment claim were given to the Havre Daily News as a result of the public information request it filed.
Bachmeier’s complaint about the hiring process for Templeton’s replacement is not that he was not hired, the document says, but that he was singled out.
“What he does claim, and what the evidence overwhelmingly shows, is that Dr. Bachmeier alone was singled out by MSUN in the application process because he had made the complaint about Templeton,” a legal brief says. “Consequently, unlike all of the other applicants, he was never given a fair shot or considered on the merits.”
Bachmeier’s attorneys said in legal papers that Northern’s argument is that they were simply trying to hire the most qualified person. Bachmeier is not claiming he should have been awarded the position, the documents says, but that the process was “clearly tainted by the activities of Limbaugh and others,” he said of Northern Chancellor James Limbaugh.
The sexual harassment complaint was supported by other MSU-Northern administrators in the investigation made by Bachmeier’s attorneys.
In Limbaugh’s deposition, he said that Templeton also touched him twice, but that it was not out of the ordinary.
“Touching is normal for many individuals in academia, because of either their training or their cultural backgrounds,” Limbaugh said in his disposition.
Limbaugh, in his disposition, says that Templeton was one of the focuses of a toxic work atmosphere for a group of individuals at MSU-Northern.
Limbaugh states that we received an “unsolicited letter of resignation” from Templeton in October.
Templeton’s letter of resignation stated that she would relieve her position in January. However, in October 2013, she left her position suddenly and was to be paid for the time she would have stayed in the original exit plan.
Limbaugh said he decided to make her resignation effective early and essentially pay her to not come into the office. He said he made the decision for the benefit of the university and its employees.
“Given the controversy surrounding that, and which many of the complaints about our situation in nursing focused on Dr. Templeton, given the fact that I perceived that her continued presence on campus was harmful to the institution, I made the decision that she needed to leave immediately so we could begin, as I say, the process of healing,” Limbaugh said in his deposition.
Limbaugh said he told Templeton that she could use him as a reference, but that he had not received any calls from other institutions.
Dean of the College of Education, Arts and Sciences and Nursing Christine Shearer-Cremean was also interviewed and her deposition is included in the exhibits of the investigative report.
Shearer-Cremean said she never saw Templeton touch any female employee inappropriately, but she did have issues with her.
Templeton was aggressive in the workplace, according to Shearer-Cremean.
“You’d think you were doing everything you were supposed to do, but if she decided that she was angry with you, she would — she would just act out,” she said in her deposition.
Shearer-Cremean said that Templeton would often allude toward her job not being secure.
“She was my direct supervisor, and she was starting to not like me very much because I was standing up to her on some of her decisions,” Shearer-Cremean said in her deposition. “And so the frequency by which she would make those kind of veiled comments was increasing.”
Templeton made sexual comments to Northern employees and made them feel uncomfortable, according to Shearer-Cremean.
“In any context that I have ever been — and I’ve been in academics for over 20 years — I have never seen a person touch another person, stroking with fingertips. And I’ll tell you what, if it had been a man doing that to a woman, there would have been an immediate investigation; I’m absolutely certain of that,” Shearer-Cremean said in her deposition.
Randy Bachmeier in his deposition explains why he never reported Templeton’s conduct in the years between her 2010 hire and his 2013 complaint. In response to a question about the procedure for filing sexual harassment complaints, he said if someone reported to him, he would follow the correct procedure.
“In my own case, I was embarrassed and I just hoped it would go away,” Bachmeier said in his deposition.
Bachmeier also said he did not follow the standard procedure of complaints because he did not believe anything would be done about it. Templeton had hired 12 administrative assistants in her time at MSU-Northern and many of them complained about Templeton’s behavior to Kathy Jaynes, the human resources director, Bachmeier said.
According to Bachmeier’s statement, nothing was done about the way Templeton treated her employees and that was why he did not believe anything would come of his following procedure by reporting to Jaynes.
Bachmeier also said that he believed Templeton would only touch him only when they were going to disagree about something and when they were alone.
“I believe she touched me because she knew I would shut down, based on her previous observations, and she would get whatever she wanted,” Bachmeier said in his deposition.
Bachmeier was promoted under Templeton to his current position of dean. One of the conditions of the promotion was that he would be unable to teach. Templeton created the condition and Bachmeier said she did it out of retaliation.
“She took any opportunity she could to make somebody upset, and especially me. She knew I absolutely loved to teach,” Bachmeier said in his deposition. “ … She told me, You must make a decision, either you’re one of us or you’re one of them.”
“MSU-Northern has demonstrated that the required qualifications listed in the notice of vacancy were based on reasonable, professional judgements made by MSU and MSU-Northern administrators about the needs of MSU-Northern,” the defendant’s response to the allegations maintained by Bachmeier and his attorneys.
The defendants hold that the notice of vacancy was not changed in retaliation to Bachmeier filing the sexual harassment complaint.
Templeton was not deposed as part of the investigation. There is no word from her throughout the investigative report.