in Houston, Texas
UTMB challenges request for records related to allegations against administrator
Monday, Apr 23, 2012, 02:09PM CST
By Mike Cronin
medical equipment

The University of Texas Medical Branch has appealed to the state attorney general for permission to keep secret documents that could reveal sexual-harassment accusations against a top administrator.

Officials at UTMB’s School of Medicine are fighting The Daily News of Galveston, arguing that releasing records requested by that publication “would be highly offensive to a reasonable person” and is not a legitimate concern to the public.

Some would contend otherwise, considering the person in question earns about a half-million dollars.

Another reason the public might be legitimately concerned is that Dr. Garland Anderson -- the school’s former executive vice president, provost and dean -- stated last year in a separate, unrelated deposition that, on the one hand, former school assistant vice president Jacqueline Genovese never had accused him of sexual harassment.

But, on the other, during that same deposition, Anderson stated that he had recently attended a sexual harassment seminar for reasons that had nothing to do with Genovese.

The problem is that Genovese “said she was discriminated against, subjected to a hostile work environment and retaliated against because of her gender, according to a confidential settlement agreement obtained by The Daily News,” wrote reporter Laura Elder. The settlement agreement did not name the accused.

From the story:

In the settlement, the medical branch agreed to pay Genovese $200,000, of which $150,000 would be classified as attorneys’ fees. The remaining $50,000 of the settlement would be classified as “damages ... specifically for amounts Genovese has expended and/or expects to expend for medical care to treat her alleged emotional distress,” according to the documents.

There was no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement.

Genovese is scheduled to resign on Dec. 15 when she finishes an 18-month “sabbatical,” the newspaper reports. Anderson took a “sabbatical” beginning in August and returned to the school last month as special adviser to the president, Dr. David L. Callender.

The Daily News filed a public records request last month, “seeking any emails, documentation or correspondence related to accusations by Genovese of sexual harassment against Anderson or any other individuals. The request included documentation about any settlements of the complaint.”

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of medical equipment by flickr user trp0, used via a Creative Commons license.

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