The University of Connecticut is cooperating with a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made against one of its faculty members, and has launched its own internal investigations in connection with related accusations and other possible misconduct.
On July 12, at the University’s urging, the executive committee of the Board of Trustees created a special board committee that will oversee and direct an independent review of UConn’s responses to those allegations that were received prior to this year and UConn’s response to the current allegations.
On Feb. 13, 2013 a letter from December 2011 was brought to the attention of Brid Grant, dean of the School of Fine Arts, containing accusations of misconduct against Robert Miller, a professor in the Department of Music. Grant turned over the letter to the University’s Title IX Coordinator/Associate Vice President for Diversity and Equity and the Office of Labor Relations, which then contacted UConn Police.
In the course of multiple police investigations, an affidavit was filed in Rockville Superior Court on June 20, 2013. The next day, in accordance with University policies, UConn placed Miller on paid administrative leave and restricted him from campus, pending the outcome of the internal personnel investigation.
To date, no one has been charged with any crime in connection with these allegations. UConn has expressed its belief in the presumption of innocence, further stating that no final determination has been made regarding the status of any employee as a result of this matter.
“Allegations involving crimes against children are both profoundly disturbing and heartbreaking,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “Although these allegations, which have been made public, appear to be unrelated to UConn, the University continues to do all it can to assist law enforcement. There have also been unsubstantiated, non-specific reports regarding UConn students, which the University is investigating under Title IX.
“It is important to note that no one has been charged with a crime in relation to these allegations, and the University has not made any final determination regarding the status of an employee,” she continued. “Yet any accusation of sexual misconduct by faculty, staff, or students is among the gravest issues that any institution must face. It is clear that serious accusations have been made, questions that demand answers have been raised, and we will do all we can to find the truth and protect the vulnerable. This includes our students, our neighbors, and our community.
“We are putting the full weight of our institution behind the multiple investigations that have begun and will continue into this matter. From the moment information came to University personnel earlier this year to the present, the University has acted quickly and methodically. This will not change,” Herbst concluded.
At the direction of President Herbst, the University’s General Counsel has been coordinating the internal response to this matter.
This morning, the Office of the Attorney General posted a “Request for Proposals” in search of special counsel to assist the University with the thorough, independent review of how these accusations were handled in the past. Special counsel also will assist with the Title IX investigation and the personnel investigation.
Although these accusations pre-date the tenure of UConn’s current president, dean of the School of Fine Arts, and chief of police, the special counsel will report directly to the UConn Board of Trustees, rather than the administration, to ensure the independence of the inquiry.
“Our primary interest is in protecting children, students, and the community, as well as aiding possible victims and bringing facts to light,” said Lawrence McHugh, chairman of the UConn Board of Trustees. “These allegations are deeply disturbing and require a very deliberate, comprehensive response that is both thorough and as transparent as possible. The Board of Trustees and the University must treat these matters with the utmost care and seriousness.
“It is clear to the board that when these allegations were brought to the attention of current University personnel in 2013, the University took swift, decisive, and careful action as this matter evolved,” added McHugh, who will chair the special committee. “The president and her senior team are to be commended for taking this action, informing the board at the appropriate time, and operating with the highest possible degree of transparency, given the circumstances.”
In order to protect the integrity of the law enforcement investigation and the individuals involved, UConn has been advised by law enforcement and legal counsel that it not discuss further details at this time.
The University has, however, launched a web site – www.uconn.edu/public-notification/ – including relevant contacts and resources pertaining to this matter. The site will be updated as additional public information or relevant records become available.