Troyer: Investigation into anonymous emails mishandled

URBANA — A University of Illinois investigation into a pair of anonymous emails reportedly sent from the president's former chief of staff was mishandled, Lisa Troyer has claimed.

In a statement supplied exclusively to The News-Gazette, Troyer, who resigned as chief of staff in early January, not only maintains she did not send the anonymous emails, but she has evidence supporting that fact, she said. The News-Gazette has published her statement in its entirety

When contacted Tuesday, Troyer declined to elaborate on the statement or answer questions about her claims.

"Because of the confidentiality agreement, I cannot publicly disclose the verifiable details that question the credibility of the investigation. I cannot publicly share the exculpatory facts omitted from the [investigative] report, or specifically challenge the unsubstantiated speculation, irrelevant information, and many inaccuracies in the report. There's no such thing as 'due process' under these circumstances," she wrote.

Her statement comes in the wake of the campus announcement earlier this week that it would conduct its own investigation into whether any disciplinary action be taken against Troyer.

On Monday, interim Provost Richard Wheeler said the review, which includes faculty in the Department of Psychology and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, would determine what, if anything, are the implications of her actions as chief of staff for her new position as a faculty member on the Urbana campus.

Troyer resigned Jan. 3 as chief of staff but held a zero-time tenured appointment in psychology as stipulated in the employment agreement given to her when she joined the university in 2010. It is not uncommon for administrators also to hold zero-time appointments in departments of their fields.

University spokesman Tom Hardy said the university stands by the recent investigation regarding anonymous emails, both in the professionalism, independence, and rigor of the inquiry and the presentation of the findings. The information conveyed by Troyer or on her behalf has provided no new perspective or impact on the conclusions, he added.

In addition, contrary to Troyer’s statement, the university has not entered into a “confidentiality agreement” with her, Hardy said.

A sociologist by training, Troyer has worked alongside Hogan for years, most recently at the University of Connecticut, where she was Hogan's chief of staff and a professor of sociology. She also worked with him at the University of Iowa, where she earned tenure as a faculty member. Troyer received master's and doctorate degrees from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington.

Earlier this month, Troyer accepted the campus' offer of $109,000 to be a full-time faculty member in psychology.

Troyer has said she resigned as chief of staff because she believed she could no longer effectively do that job while the investigation into the anonymous emails was being conducted. The inquiry began Dec. 12 when the UI's information technology was notified after members of the University Senates Conference received an anonymous email from someone purporting to be a faculty senator. The email concerned the group's discussion on enrollment management and changes proposed by Hogan in areas of recruiting students, admissions, financial aid and more.

At the time, the conference, made up of faculty senators from all three of the UI's campuses, was drafting a response to the enrollment management report commissioned by Hogan. The anonymous email urged faculty not to pretend a consensus existed among the three campuses in response to the proposal. The group ended up voting 13 to 2 in favor of a report that endorsed some of the recommendations outlined in Hogan's report, requested further discussion of some recommendations and rejected others.

The investigation initially involved the University Ethics Office and the Office of University Counsel, which both report to Hogan. Later in December, the UI hired outside law firm Jones Day and forensic data analyst Duff & Phelps.

The investigation's report, issued Jan. 13, concluded the emails were composed and sent from Troyer's laptop, there was no evidence of hacking and the laptop was not improperly accessed.

The investigation also concluded no one, including Hogan, knew about the emails.

On the day the results of the investigation were released, Troyer issued a statement that said she did not send the emails. Now she not only reiterates that claim, she maintains "there's substantial evidence" supporting that fact.

"Over the last months, I've been devastated by the mishandling of the investigation and deeply disappointed with some who've perpetuated lies and disseminated misinformation," Troyer wrote.

"And the absence of due process is exacerbated by the irresponsible and seemingly deliberate lies publicly perpetuated by (University of Illinois Professor Michael) Moore with his co-authors and signatories, as well as (Urbana senate Vice Chairwoman Joyce) Tolliver, (Campus Faculty Association's Harriet) Murav, and others."

In her approximately 1,000-word statement, Troyer criticized UI faculty member Michael Moore and his co-authors who wrote a recent letter to the UI Board of Trustees urging it to ask for Hogan's resignation. Citing Hogan's failure of leadership and criticizing his leadership style, the Moore letter said Hogan acted inappropriately by directing "those administering this (Urbana) campus that Hogan's disgraced former Chief of Staff, Lisa Troyer, be elevated to a full-time tenured appointment in the Psychology Department of this campus — this, despite the ethical lapses of Troyer that no one (including Hogan) denies occurred, and despite the obvious conflict of interest Hogan had because of Troyer's incentive to remain silent so long as some job security was obtained for her."

Moore's letter also stated "given the circumstantial evidence provided by Hogan's motive, opportunity, and characteristic modes of dealing, it has yet to be shown to our satisfaction that Hogan did not have an even more active role in the composing and sending of the fraudulent e-mails sent from his personal assistant's computer than has yet been revealed — although that assistant has coyly promised that 'in the fullness of time' the truth will come out about this."

Troyer said such statements — as well as that by Tolliver who in her statements to the senate said the fact that President Hogan "sees no conflict of interest in pursuing a faculty position for the one person whose silence protects him from any further disclosures suggests an ethical standard far below what common sense would dictate" — are inaccurate.

"As an initiator of and participant in this ethics investigation, I'm not permitted to publicly disclose details of the investigation, including its many flaws. The fact that these investigations are confidential is well-known, and the fact that Tolliver, Moore and Moore's co-authors ignore this seems deliberately intended to inflict harm.

"To suggest that what's occurred has been orchestrated for my benefit is preposterous. I was not 'elevated' to a tenure position after resigning as chief of staff as asserted by Moore and his co-authors."

There's little she can state publicly at this time — "even though I believe revealing more would go far to quell the blood thirst that's rampant among some," Troyer wrote.

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kaw wrote on March 01, 2012 at 9:03 am

If Ms. Troyer's assertions are true, then I have to wonder why she has chosen this non-response to deal with them?  Why hasn't she retained an attorney to represent her in this matter?  If the people she specifically names at the UI have violated any type of confidentiality restrictions, then why isn't she dealing with that through the proper legal channels?  She doesn't seem to have any support in the court of public opinion.  Where are the supporters she claims she has throughout all this? Why are they silent?  I'm having visions of Richard Nixon in the early days of Watergate, and we all know how that ended.  She would serve herself better if she would still herself, pack her bags, and find employment elsewhere.  "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doutbt."--Mark Twain

read the DI wrote on March 01, 2012 at 9:03 am

Listen lady, we know your game. You are a tenured professor, yet you can't speak up to defend yourself? Give us a break. Every time you open your mouth you dig yourself in deeper.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 01, 2012 at 9:03 am

Was the investigation by an outside body flawed?  Was Dr. Troyer unethical; or were the faculty unethical?  The campus will hold it's own investigation now after an outside investigation concluded that Dr. Troyer committed the unethical acts.  The University Ethics Office, and the Office of University Counsel both report directly to President Hogan.  The faculty have some concerns that Dr. Hogan was more involved in the issue.  Dr. Hogan would benefit by the matter being dropped from the public eye.  Dr. Troyer's fate rests with Dr. Hogan since he is the only one that can dismiss her.  Do you really believe that Dr. Hogan will dismiss someone who may implicate him in unethical behavior?  I regret that "blood thirst" is rampant; but there should be a conclusion made as to who is unethical for the sake of the university.  Would a complete investigation conducted by the State's Attorney General's Office solve the matter?  Dr. Hogan, and Dr. Troyer are State of Illinois employees.  Violation of the state's Ethics Rules by state employees is a disciplinary matter which may include dismissal.  Is it not time to have the matter fully investigated at a higher level?     

Baffled Student wrote on March 01, 2012 at 10:03 am

Are you kidding me Troyer? No due process? In any other job, you would have been fired months ago! The only reason why you're still employed is because of due process! Rather than fire you on the spot, an independent search firm was hired (which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars) to review the incident and found no evidence that your laptop had been hacked. Rather than fire you on the spot, the university appointed you to full time in the Psychology Department, and is now following due process by reviewing whether you should be employed or not. You're lucky you're still at the U of I in any capacity, and I hope that changes as soon as possible.

I love how, in her statement, Troyer says "When I initiated the ethics investigation. . ." as if it was somehow her idea! The fact that she is still employed is colossal embarrassment to the University, and insult to students and staff, and it devalues the degrees of all current students and alumni.

Hogan created the type of atmosphere in his office which enabled these actions. He intimidated campus leadership to support his terrible enrollment management plan, and at the same time, Troyer was busy lying in an attempt to influence faculty senators who were reviewing this worthless initiative. They should both be removed from our University. The U of I is already becoming the laughingstock of the Big 10 – this can’t go on any longer.

UniversityRelations wrote on March 01, 2012 at 10:03 am

Posted on behalf of Thomas Hardy, Executive Director, University of Illinois Office for University Relations:

The University stands by the recent investigation regarding anonymous emails, both in the professionalism, independence, and rigor of the inquiry and the presentation of the findings. The external investigative team’s process was thorough and included interviews of numerous University personnel and the review of many emails and other documents.

The investigative team met with Dr. Troyer on multiple occasions, offering her opportunities to provide the team with information and explanations regarding the use of her computer, her actions and those of others, and additional relevant facts. In each instance, Dr. Troyer was strongly encouraged to provide any and all additional information that could assist in the inquiry. On January 12, the investigative team met with Dr. Troyer via teleconference and summarized the team’s main conclusions as of that point in the investigation. The team further indicated that the report would likely be issued on January 13.

The information conveyed by Troyer or on her behalf in the interim has been carefully assessed but has provided no new perspective or impact on the conclusions. Today’s statement from Troyer has likewise not provided any new information.

Contrary to Dr. Troyer’s statement, the University has not entered into a “confidentiality agreement” with her.

The University has not chosen to debate the merits of the report in public. Unfortunately, Dr. Troyer has chosen to do so, leaving the University with little choice but to respond publicly.

The investigative team of Jones Day and Duff & Phelps, under the direction of the University Ethics Office and the Office of University Counsel, should be commended for their independent, comprehensive, and timely investigative report.

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on March 01, 2012 at 3:03 pm

OK, Ms. Troyer, based on this statement from the University, the gauntlet's been laid out....either produce your evidence or shut up and go away....at this point, you appear to be nothing short of delusional.....maybe she should be seen by one of her felllow faculty members in the Psych dept.

coffeenomnom wrote on March 01, 2012 at 11:03 am

WOW.

If you don't like it here, Dr. Troyer, you are free to leave.

nick wrote on March 01, 2012 at 11:03 am

 Sid Saltfork has made a very important point. The office of the Illinois Attorney General should complete a true investigation of this entire situation. It is sad to admit that the University of Illinois has been badly damaged by individuals who have acted so irresponsibly. The sooner the issue is properly resolved the sooner the repair can begin. I hope an investigation will finally resolve this huge problem.


 

TerrenceD wrote on March 01, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I don't believe Lisa Troyer is telling the truth.  She's just too wierd.


I don't believe Micahel Hogan is telling the truth.  His other emails show his true colors.  Plus, he "lawyered up" as soon as the email scandal hit the news wires and many documents have been marked confidential or "attorney-client privilege" by $500/hour lawyers.


I don't believe Tom Hardy is telling the truth.  He works for Hogan and was U of I's chief apologist during the Clout Scandal.  He covered up for big shots before and will do it again.


I smell a rat.  Several rats.  Keep digging for the facts, NG, because most of the characters in your story - and others you haven't mentioned here - have an agenda.


 

Supportthekids wrote on March 01, 2012 at 3:03 pm

So, let's get this straight.  The computer trail shows the anonymous emails came from Ms. Troyer's computer and there is no evidence that anyone else had access to it.  The telephone records, along with the computer records show that the emails were composed while Ms. Troyer was on the telephone with the President.  Ms. Troyer claims she has documentary proof that she did not send the emails, but cannot divulge the proof because of a confidentiality agreement.  The University says there is no confidentiality agreement.  So, who is the confidentiality agreement with, Ms. Troyer?  It must be with President Hogan.  If it is with him why is he asking that the proof that Ms. Troyer did not send the emails be kept confidential?  The answer must be that President Hogan sent the emails.  I have friends in the building services and operations and maintenance departments at the U. of I. that have been fired for much, much less than this.  It is time the Board of Trustees step in; stop the coverup and fire the evil doers.

Konstantinos Yfantis wrote on March 01, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I have had the distinct privilege to work with Professors Murav and Tolliver. I have gained so much by my professional collaboration from them. Honesty, frankness and deep care for the University of Illinois are characteristics that I admire in them.

They also seem to exemplify a quality articulated best by this greek word:

philotimo

Look it up, it's worth your time learning about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philotimo

I hope that Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Hogan and Mrs. Troyer take the time to read the definition and  start practicing this virtue asap for the good of the University of Illinois: its employees, students, alumni and all other stakeholders the world over.

Konstantinos Yfantis, LAS '99

jwr12 wrote on March 02, 2012 at 2:03 am

I think Prof. Troyer makes a huge mistake in piling bile on those who want this matter to be further investigated.  If there are facts that challenge the initial investigation, or throw new light on it in her favor, only further investigation will reveal them in a publicly credible manner.  This would be doubly true if she was, in fact, bound by confidentiality; but it appears that is not true, according to the University.

Who to believe? Unfortunately, in this latest letter, Prof. Troyer  shows a tendency to shade the truth in her direction. (As someone observed in this thread, it has much of the same tone as the original anonymous e-mails, that were likewise full of misrepresentations garbed in high-sounding rhetoric about the public good and university values.)

To speak specifically to a matter that is public record: while it is true that Prof. Troyer was given a faculty position upon her employment as chief of staff, it is most certainly not true that no further courtesies have been extended to her since her resignation from the administration.  Her appointment in Psychology was at 0% time and had no salary or many other basic terms linked to it; thus, when she resigned, the University had to both change her time allocation and issue her a salary, among other things to continue her benefits.  It asked her to do this by January 20th; she took quite a bit of time beyond that.

So her insistence -- and for that matter, the University Administration's -- that she was given a faculty position a long time ago is willfully obtuse on the crucial issues.  She had no salary and no time at Psychology before January; she was granted both, at least in part so that she could have the due process she now claims doesn't exist.

Her appointment letter was published by the News Gazette a long time ago. It's not as if this all isn't a matter of easily verifiable public record.  That she chooses to play games with the truth in this manner doesn't speak in her favor.   I personally remain convinced that the best thing for everyone involved -- including Troyer -- is to have her case carefully investigated according to an announced procedure. This is what the faculty she chooses to insult have, in fact, been pressing for.

http://www.news-gazette.com/pdf/2012-02-07/uis-offer-letter-troyer.html

 

 

urbanaman wrote on March 02, 2012 at 1:03 pm

A couple of points in defense, ostensibly, of Ms. Troyer: “There is strength in honesty;  there is weakness in dishonesty. We don’t serve our offices well by covering up reality.” I think we would all agree with that sentiment (well, with the possible exception of Lisa Troyer, since she denies writing those words). Second, with the formidable computer department and IT personnel at the U of I, only a moron would compose and send an anonymous email from his (whoops, almost used the pronoun “her”) own computer and assume impenetrability into her, er, HIS identity. Feel free to use either of these in your defense, Ms. Troyer. As far as explaining why someone who wanted to implicate you in something would take all the trouble and risk imprisonment to send an anonymous email as opposed to using your name is beyond me. You're on your own there.

read the DI wrote on March 02, 2012 at 3:03 pm

She's not what I would call an attractive woman, either.