WATERLOO — University of Iowa president Sally Mason said if given a second chance, she would not have changed how she handled a sexual harassment complaint filed against one of the school’s athletic advisers.
Peter Gray, who had served as associate director of Athletic Student Services and director of academic advising and counseling, resigned from the university Nov. 5 amid allegations he violated the school’s sexual harassment policy.
On Nov. 9 the Iowa City Press-Citizen published information from an internal report that alleged Gray violated the policy by giving students shoulder massages, hugging and other inappropriate touching. Gray admitted to some of the touching but denied grabbing a student’s genitals or buttocks, according to the Associated Press.
Mason was made aware of the complaint in mid-October and immediately launched an investigation. Gray was put on administrative leave the same day and then voluntarily chose to resign, she said.
“In terms of personnel records, that would not have been something that we would have shared publicly,” Mason told The Courier editorial board Monday. “... Those reports are done in a confidential manner to protect the complainant, but also to some extent to protect the person being complained against because at that time you don’t know if there is something to be complained about.”
Mason said the stance is supported by the university’s general counsel.
Ultimately, the result would still be the same, Mason added. Gray would not be employed by the University of Iowa.
While there appears to be no criminal misconduct, Mason said the university is completing a full audit of the allegations and of the university’s hiring process. Gray, who was first employed at the university from 1993 to 1995, was rehired in 2002 through a national search. According to the internal report the behavior also took place during Gray’s first employment with the university.
Mason said they are auditing the hiring process “to make sure we have good processes in place and that we follow them.” But, she said that evaluating this committee and the process used will be “tricky” because it happened so long ago.
The university is also re-evaluating its recently ramped-up sexual harassment policy.
“You can’t have a hostile work environment. We had mandated sexual harassment training for every employee. The athletic department has a very high compliance rate. Over 96 percent had gone through the training and yet somehow the complaints were not being dealt with the way they were supposed to be,” she said. “That is what we are following up on now. To make sure that we don’t have another lapse there or anywhere else in the university in terms of how these things are reported.”