Havre Daily News - News you can use

 
 

Templeton rescheduled, hearing continues

 

June 20, 2014

Eric Seidle

Hearing Officer Terry Spear, listens to testimony Thursday during the hearing of Randy Bachmeier's claims of sexual harassment and intimidation at Montana State University-Northern.

The testimony of former Montana State University-Northern's provost Rosalyn Templeton in the hearing for the sexual harassment complaint filed by Dean Randy Bachmeier has been moved to next month.

Time ran out Thursday in the three-day hearing held by the Montana Human Relations Bureau.

The third and, what was scheduled to be the final, day of the Randy Bachmeier vs. Montana State University-Northern hearing began at 8 a.m. Thursday with the continued testimony of Chancellor James Limbaugh.

Limbaugh said he was surprised and distressed upon learning that Bachmeier had filed a sexual harassment complaint against former Provost Rosalyn Templeton.

"I thought 'My God, what has he been going through?'" Limbaugh said in his testimony.

He said the official complaint Bachmeier filed with the Montana Human Relations Bureau was the first he had heard about Bachmeier's issue with Templeton.

After Limbaugh, Montana State University President Waded Cruzado was sworn in as a witness.

She said that she and Limbaugh never talked about Templeton and that the change made to the notice of vacancy for the provost position was not made to block any particular person to not be able to apply.

That change made Bachmeier ineligible to apply to the position, and Bachmeier claims that was done to retaliate against him for filing the claim.

Limbaugh sent an email to Cruzado about the changes to the notice of vacancy for the provost position, in which he wrote:

"There's allegedly a controversy that is about to surface here because I've said that the position requires a doctorate and earned tenure. Said controversy is all woven into a pre-existing issue with an employee who has had an ongoing issue with the incumbent provost. I can discuss confidentially with you via phone if you desire more information."

Cruzado said she did not know who the mentioned employee was and that the phone conversation she and Limbaugh had after this email was very brief.

"He wanted to touch base about the announcement," Cruzado said.

She added that they did not speak of Bachmeier or Templeton, past the fact that she was leaving her position, thereby leaving it open to warrant the notice of vacancy.

Cruzado said she decided to make the change in the notice because she thought "the campus was ready to take the next step" to better itself. The change was not out of the ordinary, and she has made similar changes to notices more than she can remember.

She told Bachmeier's attorneys in her cross-examination that she was "saddened by all the controversy" that preceded Templeton's resignation and that Templeton had made a difference at MSU-Northern.

Other witness called to testify Thursday were MSU-Northern Projects Director Dan Ullman, Templeton's former assistant Kevin Zoren, former Montana University System Deputy Commissioner Sylvia Moore, MSU-Northern Director of Human Resources Kathy Jaynes and MSU-Northern Dean of Technical Sciences Greg Kegel.

Kegel was a chair of the search committee created to choose the candidates for the new provost after Templeton resigned.

He maintains that Limbaugh did not sway his or the committee is decision on any one candidate. Kegel asked if there was any flexibility on the stipulation that any candidate to have the rank of full professor and was told that was not.

Based on this and other criteria, Kegel and the committee did not score Bachmeier's application because it did not meet the set standards.

"If they didn't meet the initial criteria, we didn't score them," Kegel said. He added that the committee was fair and objective to every applicant.

Jaynes, while she was the witness being questioned, was asked why she did not begin an investigation when a 360 Evaluation on Templeton came back with 41 evaluations and one had an anonymous comment that mentioned Templeton touching her employees and making them feel uncomfortable.

She said the because the comment was anonymous, she did not know how to follow up on it in an investigation. Templeton and Limbaugh both had the evaluation and both were aware of the comment.

Jaynes said when she learned that Bachmeier had side-stepped her and filed a complaint with the Human Rights Bureau, she was surprised.

"I was upset and disappointed Randy didn't come to me," Jaynes said.

Templeton was to be the last witness in the day and in the hearing, but due to the 5 p.m. cut-off time, the MSU-Northern attorneys moved to reschedule her testimony to a later date.

John Heenan, Bachmeier's attorney, objected to the change, saying it gave Templeton a chance to prepare that no other witness was given.

His objection was overruled and the attorneys, Hearing Officer Terry Spear and Templeton, who was communicating with Northern's attorneys from the parking lot outside Cowan Hall, tried to find a day where they were all free to continue the hearing.

After working past work schedules, vacations and personal commitments, the hearing was decided to start again July 15 in Helena, where the attorneys are headquartered.

The hearing will be at 9 a.m., tentatively in the Office of Commissioner of Higher Education building.

 

Reader Comments

(3)

jkelleherHDN writes:

Dr. Bachmeier's photo has been in the Havre Daily News twice this week. Dr. Templeton has not testified. When she does, we will have her picture. — John Kelleher, Havre Daily News

why writes:

Why are we not seeing pictures of Templeton and Bachmier?

2smart4u writes:

Gee, do you think that scheduling two previously unscheduled witnesses had something to do with the fact there 'wasn't enough time' for Templeton's testimony? So, now it is not only scheduled for a later date, but four hours away in HELENA. How convenient. That reeks quite foul.