University denies request of faculty, staff sexual misconduct records

File photo of Cherry Hall.

Nicole Ares

Six university employees have resigned since 2013 after the results of a Title IX investigation found violations of university policy, according to information obtained by the Herald.

The Herald obtained this information through the university’s response to an open records request for all Title IX investigations into sexual misconduct allegations involving WKU employees in the last five years.

WKU’s Office of the General Counsel has denied the Herald’s open records request, citing multiple Kentucky Revised Statutes and the ongoing litigation between the University of Kentucky and its student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel.

In the denial letter, the Office of the General Counsel disclosed WKU has conducted 20 investigations into faculty and staff sexual misconduct since 2013. Of those cases, nine were of WKU faculty and 11 were of WKU staff. Six of the 20 investigations found violations of university policy, but all six employees resigned from the university prior to final action being taken.

The Herald filed this records request after the Kernel filed the same request to WKU and was also denied. In both cases, WKU cited the lawsuit between the University of Kentucky and the Kernel as part of its reasoning for denial.

UK sued the Kernel after the newspaper filed an appeal to the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General for documents from a sexual assault and harassment investigation centered around a former professor. The Kernel appealed the university’s original refusal to release those records, and Attorney General Andy Beshear ruled in favor of the newspaper.

The same request filed with Eastern Kentucky University by the Herald was not denied. EKU’s Deputy General Counsel Dana Daughetee Fohl said they anticipated 800 pages of redacted records becoming available by Nov. 30.

Andrea Anderson, assistant general counsel and Title IX coordinator, wrote “WKU is aware of the ongoing litigation between the Kentucky Kernel and the University of Kentucky…Should the matter resolve with the court ordering production of UK’s Title IX investigative files, WKU will supplement this response.”

The Herald sent open records requests for Title IX investigative records into employee sexual misconduct to eight public universities in Kentucky including WKU, UK, EKU, the University of Louisville, Murray State University, Morehead State University, Northern Kentucky University and Kentucky State University, and is awaiting responses from the remaining universities.

The Herald will update this story as more information becomes available.