Ohio University’s provost recommended in a letter issued Friday that the university initiate detenuring and possibly dismissal proceedings for a journalism professor, who a university Title IX investigation found to have sexually harassed a graduate student, among other misconduct.
OU Provost and Executive Vice President Chaden Djalali sent a letter to professor Yusuf Kalyango Jr. last Thursday, notifying Kalyango that Djalali chose to accept the findings of a university ethics committee, which recommended that the university begin “loss of tenure” proceedings against Kalyango.
This essentially means that Kalyango could lose his job, depending on the next steps in this process (they include a 21-day appeal period for Kalyango where he can appeal the decision to OU President Duane Nellis).
The ethics group – the University Professional Ethics Committee – unanimously agreed in a Nov. 9 report provided to Djalali that the university has adequate cause to begin the dismissal proceedings for Kalyango. DJalali wrote on Dec. 6 that he “accepted” those findings.
“I accepted the UPEC’s determination that your conduct presents adequate cause to recommend that your school initiate loss of tenure and/or dismissal proceedings,” Djalali wrote. “Therefore, I am forwarding the UPEC’s report to your school for consideration."
The OU Office for Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (Title IX office) investigation that was completed this summer found that Kalyango had violated the university’s policy in three areas: Engaging in sexual harassment by quid pro quo; creating a hostile work environment; and harassing the student based on her sex.
Kalyango’s lawyer, John Marshall of Columbus employment law firm Marshall & Forman, previously stated that his client denies the student’s accusations. Marshall did not respond to a request for comment sent Sunday.
“Professor Kalyango denies the accusations made against him and looks forward to clearing his name in the university process, which is his first opportunity to present evidence and show that the accusations are not true,” Marshall previously wrote.
The graduate student worked as the program assistant for the 2017 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a U.S. Department of State grant-funded program that Kalyango directed at the time. The graduate student held a similar position with the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) program, another State Department-sponsored program directed by Kalyango at the time, but she resigned from that position after the alleged sexual harassment and retaliation from Kalyango.
The university on Nov. 8 and 9 was visited by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, according to public records. A representative of that agency emailed OU’s legal staff in October and said that the agency would look at the records relating to the SUSI and YALI programs “as a result of the recent happenings concerning the former PI, Yusuf Kalyongo (sic).”
The university ECRC investigation found that Kalyango allegedly doctored some of the program participants’ evaluations of the SUSI and YALI program in order to either “downplay a criticism of the YALI program, increase the criticism of (the student accuser), increase the praise of (Kalyango) or the program as a whole, or, in the most egregious case, absolutely contradicted a scathing criticism of Witness M (another program staffer).”
Meanwhile, Ron Koch, a law-enforcement liaison officer with the federal Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, also emailed the university’s legal staff in September and asked for a copy of the university’s ECRC investigation.
“We recently received information that a Dr. Yusuf Kalyango, head of the Department of State’s SUSI and YALI programs at your university, had been subject to a Ohio University investigation into sexual harassment; and also as part of the same investigation, it was found that he may have altered evaluations for the program and that financial records may also have been altered/changed,” Koch wrote. “Since our Bureau and Department take these allegations very seriously, I was inquiring if the university did conduct such an investigation(s), and if possible, would you send me a copy of them for our use in evaluating our programs and any issues related to them.”
Koch was provided a copy of the university’s ECRC report, and emails show he scheduled a phone call with OU’s legal counsel.
OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said in an email last month that the State Department will provide a “formal response” within 45 days of the site visit.
“We don’t have any additional information to share at this time beyond the fact that we are fully cooperating with the federal review,” Leatherwood said.