Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Source leaks documents to Kernel; UK to still sue

While the University of Kentucky has stated it will sue the school’s independent student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, the documents that UK refused to release were leaked to the Kernel.
A confidential source gave the newspaper 122 pages of documents about the investigation into Associate Professor James Harwood, who was accused of sexual impropriety.

The university would not confirm the documents were authentic. 

Harwood was charged by UK with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual harassment by two complainants. However, several others were identified and interviewed by UK’s Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. They told UK officials Harwood had made inappropriate comments to them or touched them inappropriately.

Harwood was able to resign and receive his pay through the end of August. No hearings were held on the charges. 

The Kernel learned of the resignation of Harwood, and 2015-16 Editor Will Wright sought UK records on the incidents under the state's Open Records Act. The university denied the request. Wright then appealed to the attorney general, who has authority under state law to review all denials of open records. The university refused to release documents to Attorney General Andy Beshear for review, and Beshear ruled the university had violated the Open Records Act.  Such a ruling has the force of law unless it is appealed to circuit court and overturned.

The university announced it would sue the Kernel to overturn the decision. After this leak of documents to the Kernel, the university reiterated that intention. A spokesperson for the victims told the Kernel they want the documents made public with their names redacted.

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