HAVRE — An administrator at Montana State University-Northern testified that the school’s former provost touched him inappropriately over a three-year period and that the university retaliated against him after he filed a discrimination complaint.
A hearing officer with the Montana Human Rights Bureau held a hearing in Havre last week in MSU-Northern Dean Randy Bachmeier’s complaint about former Provost Rosalyn Templeton. Some school administrators backed up Bachmeier’s claims, while others said Templeton’s behavior was not sexual in nature.
Templeton’s attorney, Betsy Griffing of Missoula, did not return a phone call from The Associated Press on Monday seeking comment. An internal investigation found no evidence to support Bachmeier’s sexual harassment complaint, school officials said.
Bachmeier has said he finally told Templeton stop touching him in April 2013, after which he was excluded from meetings with other deans. He also said Templeton issued two formal reprimands against him within a 24-hour period. He filed his formal complaint with the Human Rights Bureau on May 8, 2013.
Chancellor James Limbaugh said he’d received numerous complaints about Templeton’s management and that she was “short, moody and difficult to talk with,” but he said he was unaware of Bachmeier’s issues with Templeton until he filed the sexual harassment complaint.
Templeton announced in August 2013 that she would resign effective in January 2014.
Due to Bachmeier’s complaint and others, and “that I perceived 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 in the case.
Templeton was relieved of her duties on campus in October to help cool the “toxic” environment at Northern, but not due to the sexual harassment complaint, Limbaugh said.
The provost job posting initially said associate or full professors were eligible to apply, but was changed a day later to say only full professors would be considered. Bachmeier alleged that change was meant to make him ineligible to apply. Montana State University President Waded Cruzado testified last week that the change was her decision and not related to Bachmeier’s case. Templeton had been scheduled to testify during the hearing in Havre, but other testimony ran long. Templeton is now scheduled to testify July 15 in Helena.
Bachmeier is seeking $100,000 in emotional damages and $50,000 for being blocked from applying for the provost’s position.