On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto stopped by the Chronicle of Higher Education to talk about campus sexual assault and UK’s legal case against the university’s student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel.
That case centers on a sexual harassment and abuse investigation of former entomology associate professor James Harwood, in which he and the university settled on his resignation rather than punishment in the case. The Kernel asked for documents from the investigation under the state’s open records law, which UK refused. When the Office of the Attorney General ruled that the documents must be released, UK sued the Kernel to challenge the ruling. Last Friday, a judge heard arguments from both sides and said he hoped to rule before the end of the month.
The situation has gotten headlines all over the country, including a recent story in the New York Times.
Reporter Jack Stripling asked Capilouto some tough questions about the case, including whether anyone would have known about the allegations against Harwood if the Kernel hadn’t written about the case, and whether Capilouto should apologize to the Kernel and Editor Majorie Kirk for calling her work “salacious,” and aimed only at selling newspapers.
Capilouto said he thought anyone looking to hire Harwood would have checked references at UK that would have revealed the allegations. In a similar case, however, a UK official wrote a recommendation letter for a professor accused of research misconduct and sexual harassment for a job in a high school.
Regarding an apology, Capilouto said none is needed and accused the Kernel had provided too many details about the case. The Kernel has never identified any of the victims in the case.
Stripling and Capilouto also discussed a recent initiative at UK to give more need-based financial aid.