LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) – The University of Wyoming acknowledged Friday that its board of trustees investigated then- president Laurie Nichols last year after it received two complaints against her, the first time the board has publicly commented in any detail on it vote not to renew her 3-year contract.
The university also announced it wouldn’t appeal a judge’s ruling that number of of documents related to the investigation should be released to a group of news outlets who had sued for them last June. The judge had set a deadline of Monday to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.
The exact nature of the reports and what prompted them remains unknown. The UW statement says simply that staff members submit reports about Nichols to the school’s human resources department and the trustees retained an employment matters firm to do preliminary interviews and inquiry, which identified “multiple individual accounts or perspectives of a similar and consistent nature.”
The Casper Star-Tribune and WyoFile jointly reported last Sept that there was an incident between Nichols and a UW Foundation employee who left as a result
Through an attorney, Nichols – now President of Black Hills State University in Spearfish – said that before Friday’s statement by the university, she never knew of the reports against her and was never asked to respond or reply to them. She also said she’s never received an explanation for the non-renewal of her contract.
UW announced earlier last week that over 60 people have applied to become the next president. A search committee plans to divide the 60 applicants into three groups: those to be interviewed, those meriting more discussion and those out of the running.
Video interviews with 10 candidates will begin this week, part of a schedule that calls for the trustees to make an offer to a finalist in early March following on-campus interviews with three finalists.